Facebook content moderators develop PTSD

Occurred: September 2018

Content moderators working directly or indirectly for Facebook who have to review child abuse, beheading and other traumatic videos have been diagnosed with mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The findings triggered multiple lawsuits against the technology company. 

In May 2020, Facebook agreed to pay USD 52 million to over 10,000 current and former contract workers in sites in California, Arizona, Texas and Florida, with each worker receiving USD 1,000 in cash and those diagnosed with psychological conditions related to their work as Facebook moderators eligible medical treatment and damages up to USD 50,000 per person.

The California lawsuit had described content moderators such as lead plaintiff Selena Scola having to handle 'broadcasts of child sexual abuse, rape, torture, bestiality, beheadings, suicide, and murder' on a daily basis, and that Facebook had failed to provide a safe workplace for content moderators and did little to safeguard their mental health.

Operator: Meta/Facebook; Cognizant; Pro Unlimited  
Developer: Meta/Facebook; Cognizant; Pro Unlimited
Country: USA
Sector: Technology
Purpose: Moderate content
Technology: Content moderation system
Issue: Employment - safety
Transparency: Governance; Complaints/appeals

Legal, regulatory 👩🏼‍⚖️