A woman who had worked in Facebook’s California offices for nine months from June 2017 is suing the giant social media company for not doing enough to protect its moderators. The woman, who has been named as Selena Scola, claims that she suffered severe stress after watching beheading videos.
In claiming that Facebook is ‘failing to provide a safe workplace’, Scola charged that moderators like her regularly have to watch distressing content – which included beheadings, beastiality and sexual abuse.
Scola’s lawyers are claiming that she developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of watching ‘highly toxic and extremely disturbing images’ which part of her job scope as a moderator.
A Facebook spokesperson told Mirror Online, a UK publication, that it was currently reviewing this claim.
“We recognize that this work can often be difficult. That is why we take the support of our content moderators incredibly seriously, starting with their training, the benefits they receive, and ensuring that every person reviewing Facebook content is offered psychological support and wellness resources,” the spokesman said.
Adding: “Facebook employees receive these in house and we also require companies that we partner with for content review to provide resources and psychological support, including onsite counseling – available at the location where the plaintiff worked – and other wellness resources like relaxation areas at many of our larger facilities.”
If Scola’s case is successful, thousands of other moderators could step forward for a class action lawsuit.
Al Jazeera reported in May last year that content moderation in Facebook is not automated, and that “there are thought to be more than 150,000 content moderators working around the world today.”
“It can be unpleasant but necessary work, and many social media companies based in the West now outsource it to countries such as the Philippines or India,” it said.