Facebook Moderator Sues Company, Says Moderating Users Gave Her PTSD
San Mateo County, CA – A former Facebook content moderator has filed a lawsuit against the social media company, alleging that it failed to protect her from the psychological trauma caused by the “disturbing” images the job required her to view.
Selena Scola, a Pro Unlimited Inc. employee who worked at Facebook offices for nine months under a contract between the businesses, filed the lawsuit in San Mateo County on Friday, Business Insider reported.
In the lawsuit, Scola accused Facebook of failing to create a safe work environment, which she claimed caused her to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to the Los Angeles Times.
As a content moderator, Scola was expected to identify and remove posts that violated Facebook’s user policies, including livestreams, photos, and videos that depicted “child sexual abuse, rape, torture, bestiality, beheadings, suicide, and murder,” the lawsuit read.
“From her cubicle in Facebook’s Silicon Valley offices, Ms. Scola witnessed thousands of acts of extreme and graphic violence,” the complaint said, according to Business Insider.
As a result, Scola now experiences PTSD symptoms “when she touches a computer mouse, enters a cold building, watches violence on television, hears loud noises, or is started,” court documents said.
The lawsuit contended that “Facebook ignores the workplace safety standards it helped create,” according to Business Insider.
“By requiring its content moderators to work in dangerous conditions that cause debilitating physical and psychological harm, Facebook violates California law,” court documents read.
Burns Charest LLP attorney Korey Nelson said his firm is seeking class-action status for Scola’s lawsuit, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“Facebook is ignoring its duty to provide a safe workplace and instead creating a revolving door of contractors who are irreparably traumatized by what they witnessed on the job,” Nelson told the Los Angeles Times.
The lawsuit requested that Pro Limited and Facebook be required to fund a program to help diagnose, treat, and monitor psychologically traumatized employees.
“We recognize that this work can often be difficult. That is why we take the support of our content moderators incredibly seriously,” Facebook Corporate Communications Director Bertie Thomson told the Los Angeles Times.
According to Thomson, Facebook already requires the companies it partners with to offer psychological support to employees, “including onsite counseling – available at the location where the plaintiff worked – and other wellness resources, like relaxation areas.”