Facebook to pay out $52 million in PTSD settlement

Date:13 May 2020 Author: Leila Stein

Content moderators working for Facebook in the United States will be paid out a landmark total of $52 million to compensate them for mental health issues developed while on the job.

The social network has agreed to pay out for damages done while these moderators were working to comb through content posted through the site, often witnessing horrifically violent content.

According to The Verge, each moderator will receive $1,000 and be eligible for additional compensation if they are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder or related conditions.

“We are so pleased that Facebook worked with us to create an unprecedented program to help people performing work that was unimaginable even a few years ago,” said Steve Williams, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, in a statement. “The harm that can be suffered from this work is real and severe.”

The fight for acknowledgment and compensation for moderators has been an uphill battle. Facebook hired large consulting firms to run moderation centres for them, with staff often being underpaid and expected to keep up in an intense work schedule with little to no debriefing or psychological assistance.

The first to sue Facebook was former moderator Selena Scola who said she developed PTSD after working in a role which required her to view and moderate photos and images of rape, murder, and suicide.

In addition to the payouts, Facebook has also agreed to make changes to moderation. Some include tools such as muting audio by default and changing videos to black and white.

Moderators who are viewing graphic content on a daily basis will also be able to access weekly, one-on-one coaching sessions with a licensed mental health professional. Facebook will also provide a counselor for anyone suffering from a mental health crisis within 24 hours and institute monthly group therapy sessions.

Image: Unsplash

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