Facebook will pay $52 million to content moderators who developed PTSD on the job

Social media platform to pay out impacted moderators at least $1,000 each

Chris Riotta
New York
Tuesday 12 May 2020 21:54
Man shot dead by police during Facebook livestream

Facebook has announced it will pay $52m in total to its content moderators who have developed PTSD while working for the social media platform as part of a preliminary court settlement, according to a report.

The company was embroiled in controversy after The Verge published a detailed report about Facebook content moderators facing trauma and developing PTSD with severely limited mental resources last year.

As part of the settlement, Facebook will provide moderators with more counselling, as well at at least $1,000 to all eligible current and former content moderators with diagnosed PTSD or other conditions, the news outlet reported on Tuesday.

A reported 11,250 moderators qualify to receive a share of the settlement funds, with some eligible to receive additional money if they have developed other mental health issues as a result of their time working for Facebook.

Steve Williams, an attorney representing the content moderators who sued Facebook, celebrated the preliminary settlement in a statement.

“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”, he told The Verge.

“The harm that can be suffered from this work is real and severe,” he added.

Tasked with ensuring every post across the social media platform adheres to its content policies, Facebook moderators often view disturbing, graphic and otherwise explicit videos and photographs they are then forced to remove from the site.

The moderators make as little as $28,800 in some cases, and The Verge reported last year they faced extreme work conditions.

Facebook will also adopt new measures as part of the settlement surrounding its content moderation services, like screening potential employees for emotional resiliency and rolling out expanded capabilities to reduce the impact of certain content on moderators who view it, like muting audio and making flagged videos black and white.

Facebook also released a statement after the settlement was announced expressing its commitment to its moderators.

“We are grateful to the people who do this important work to make Facebook a safe environment for everyone,” the company said. “We’re committed to providing them additional support through this settlement and in the future.”

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