Class-action lawsuit against Facebook alleges moderator's job gave her PTSD

Henrietta Strickland
September 25, 2018

The lawsuit, which is seeking class action status, was filed on behalf of Selena Scola, who worked at Facebook for nine months under a contract through staffing company Pro Unlimited.

In a statement to Engadget, Facebook said it was "reviewing" the lawsuit and took moderator support "incredibly seriously" and pointed to its existing assistance, including "in house" psychological and wellness support as well as similar requirements for its third-party partners.

As part of her job, she was supposedly subjected to "videos, images and livestreamed broadcasts of child sexual abuse, rape, torture, bestiality, beheadings, suicide and murder", the suit states.

It asks that Facebook and its third party outsourcing companies provide content moderators with proper mandatory onsite and ongoing mental health treatment and support, and establish a medical monitoring fund for testing and providing mental health treatment to former and current moderators.

'From her cubicle in Facebook's Silicon Valley offices, Ms. Scola witnessed thousands of acts of extreme and graphic violence, ' the court documents read.

However it added that it ignores those standards when it comes to its own contractors. "Instead, the multibillion-dollar corporation affirmatively requires its content moderators to work under conditions known to cause and exacerbate psychological trauma", the suit alleges.

Facebook is under intense scrutiny from politicians and lawmakers, who have taken top executives to task in two high-profile hearings on Capitol Hill this year and are considering new regulations that would hold the companies to a more stringent standard of responsibility for illegal content posted on their platforms.

A Facebook spokesperson did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

A content moderator at Facebook filed a class action lawsuit against the company on Friday, claiming it does not protect employees from the mental trauma caused by the graphic images they see online every day.

Ms. Scola's PTSD symptoms may be triggered when she touches a computer mouse, enters a cold building, watches violence on television, hears loud noises, or is startled.

A former Facebook content moderator is suing the company and claiming her job gave her post-traumatic stress disorder.

Facebook and other internet providers have established industry standards for training, counseling and supporting content moderators, but Facebook isn't following the workplace safety guidelines that it helped create, the lawsuit said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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