Facebook reported for not protecting content reviewers from mental trauma

Facebook in the past has said all of its content reviewers have access to mental health resources

A former Facebook Inc contract employee filed a lawsuit in California, alleging that content moderators who face mental trauma after reviewing distressing images on the platform are not being properly protected by the social networking company.

Facebook moderators under contract are “bombarded” with “thousands of videos, images and live-streamed broadcasts of child sexual abuse, rape, torture, bestiality, beheadings, suicide and murder,” the lawsuit said.

Reflection of the Facebook logo on a woman's spectacles. Image: Reuters

Representational image. Image: Reuters

Facebook in the past has said all of its content reviewers have access to mental health resources, including trained professionals on site for both individual and group counselling, and they receive full health care benefits.

“We take the support of our content moderators incredibly seriously, ... ensuring that every person reviewing Facebook content is offered psychological support and wellness resources,” said Bertie Thomson, director of corporate communications.

More than 7,500 content reviewers work for Facebook, including full-time employees and contractors.

The social network has faced regulatory scrutiny over not doing enough to prevent content like fake news and hate speech on its platform, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has vowed to step up efforts to counter it through mass hirings and use of artificial intelligence.

Nelson’s firm is seeking class-action status for the lawsuit.

Scola worked at Facebook’s offices in Menlo Park and Mountain View, California, for nine months from June last year, under a contract through Pro Unlimited Inc, a Florida-based staffing company.

The case is Scola v Facebook Inc and Pro Unlimited Inc, No. 18 CIV0513, filed in Superior Court of the State of California.

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