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Facebook to pay $52 mln to moderators for mental trauma during work

Facebook has appointed counsellors and therapists who work with moderators to deal with trauma. (Photo: Reuters)Premium
Facebook has appointed counsellors and therapists who work with moderators to deal with trauma. (Photo: Reuters)

  • Moderators claimed that they suffered mental trauma and post traumatic stress disorder as they had to watch hours of graphic content, violent imagery and more as part of their work
  • The plaintiffs in the case will get a minimum of $1,000, while those who are diagnosed with specific health conditions will get added compensation up to $50,000

NEW DELHI: Facebook will pay $52 million to compensate content moderators who suffered mental trauma because of their work. The settlement goes to current and former moderators on the platform, and marks the end of a class-action lawsuit brought against the company in California in 2018.

Moderators claimed that they suffered mental trauma and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as they had to watch hours of graphic content, violent imagery and more as part of their work. The plaintiffs in the case will get a minimum of $1,000, while those who are diagnosed with specific health conditions will get added compensation up to $50,000.

“We are so pleased that Facebook worked with us to create an unprecedented programme to help people performing work that was unimaginable even a few years ago," Steve Williams, one of the layers for the moderators, said in a statement.

The case had begun in 2018 with former moderator Selena Scola suing the company alleging she developed PTSD due to her job. Other moderators eventually joined the suit from four states in the US and they alleged that Facebook hadn’t provided a safe workplace for them.

The world’s largest social media company has faced such allegations in many countries though. Moderators have often come forward alleging that their job is taxing and causes trauma. Facebook has appointed counsellors and therapists who work with moderators to deal with trauma.

“Normal people do not go back to their trauma every day or they can avoid it after a therapy session. People who work in content moderation do not have that luxury," one counsellor had said for an earlier story on moderators by Mint. “Sometimes, they may already be suffering from depression and this triggers it further," the counsellor added.

It’s worth noting that the problem isn’t faced by Facebook moderators alone. Moderators at YouTube, Twitter, TikTok and many more also face such issues, according to various reports.

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