Facebook to pay moderators $52 million for psychological damages

Facebook will pay its moderators $52 million as compensation for the psychological harm it causes them. The content moderators are witness to disturbing and horrifying content every day on Facebook.

The payment is part of a preliminary statement in a class-action lawsuit brought against Facebook in 2018.
  • A report by AP stated that these third party contractors said Facebook failed to protect them from psychological and other injuries that can result from repeated exposure to graphic material such as child sexual abuse, beheadings, terrorism, animal cruelty, and other disturbing images.

A report by The Verge states that the settlement covers 11,250 moderators.
  • The report stated that according to lawyers, about half of them may be eligible for extra pay related to mental health issues associated with their time working for Facebook, including depression and addiction.
  • Last year, some content moderators complained that they were diagnosed with severe psychological harm. Some even complained of being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after viewing distressing content like violent murders on Facebook, The Verge reported.
  • The Guardian had quoted a moderator saying that the first thing he views after switching on his computer at 9 AM is watching people’s heads being cut-off. The report stated that the psychological damage caused to these moderators was such that they could not sleep or had nightmares. They accused Facebook of failing to provide a safe workplace.
  • The settlement grants the moderators who were part of the 2018 lawsuit $1000 each. Under a settlement filed to San Mateo Superior Court in California, moderators can get up to $ 50,000 depending upon their mental condition, individual circumstances, and injuries.
  • Facebook will also bring about changes to its moderation processes keeping workers’ mental health priority. These changes would include providing access to mental health professionals, monthly group therapy sessions, and altering moderation tools so videos are in black and white, Mashable reported.
  • Facebook in a statement said, “We are grateful to the people who do this important work to make Facebook a safe environment for everyone. We’re committed to providing them additional support through this settlement in the future.”
  • However, the settlement is still preliminary and needs final approval from a judge after comments from members are taken into consideration. This could happen by the end of this year, the report stated. The preliminary settlement covers moderators working in California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida from 2015 until now.

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