A former Facebook employee is suing the company, saying her job as a content moderator left her with lasting psychological trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder, according to Business Insider.
Selena Scola filed the lawsuit in California state court in San Mateo on Friday. She is attempting to make it a class action case on behalf of other current and former employees who suffer due to Facebook’s alleged “failure to provide a safe workplace for the thousands of contractors who are entrusted to provide the safest environment possible for Facebook users.”
“Facebook ignores the workplace safety standards it helped create,” the lawsuit alleges. “Instead the multibillion-dollar corporation affirmatively requires its content moderators to work under conditions known to cause and exacerbate psychological trauma.”
What does she say happened?
As a content moderator, Scola was responsible for sifting through some of the most graphic and offensive content posted to the site in order to prevent it from being widely seen and shared.
The job of content moderator is notoriously unpleasant, and at Facebook is usually handled by contract workers. Scola worked for Facebook between June 2017 and March 2018, and now she says even touching a computer mouse triggers her PTSD.
“From her cubicle in Facebook’s Silicon Valley offices, Ms. Scola witnessed thousands of acts of extreme and graphic violence,” the lawsuit claims. “As a result of constant and unmitigated exposure to highly toxic and extremely disturbing images at the workplace, Ms. Scola developed and suffers from significant psychological trauma and post -traumatic stress disorder (‘PTSD’).”
According to Business Insider, content moderators regularly view “child abuse imagery, graphic violence, terrorist propaganda, and other ugly material” as a part of their work.
Why would Facebook be liable?
The lawsuit claims that Facebook does nothing to protect workers in this position. From the court documents:
“Facebook ignores the workplace safety standards it helped create. Instead the multibillion-dollar corporation affirmatively requires its content moderators to work under conditions known to cause and exacerbate psychological trauma. By requiring its content moderators to work in dangerous conditions that cause debilitating physical and psychological harm, Facebook violates California law.”
The lawsuit wants Facebook to fund testing and treatment programs for the moderators, and is asking for unspecified damages.