Facebook must pay $52M for 11,250 content moderators' mental health issues caused on the job

REUTERS, Dado Ruvic, 2016

Current and former moderators will be paid at least $1,000

The power of journalism. Right here. Never say that reporting can't change the world or help right wrongs, because that's exactly what happened with The Verge's reporting on Facebook moderators who were traumatized and harmed in the course of doing their jobs.

From The Verge:

In a landmark acknowledgment of the toll that content moderation takes on its workforce, Facebook has agreed to pay $52 million to current and former moderators to compensate them for mental health issues developed on the job. In a preliminary settlement filed on Friday in San Mateo Superior Court, the social network agreed to pay damages to American moderators and provide more counseling to them while they work.

This is huge, and it's based on reporting by The Verge in 2019 which showed that Facebook moderators hired through the staffing firm Cognizant were working in awful conditions in Phoenix, AZ, and in Tampa, FL, for an annual salary as low as $28,800

From today's reporting in The Verge:

[M]oderators were placed into a high-stakes environment that demanded near-perfect accuracy in navigating Facebook’s ever-changing content policies, while being subjected to imagery that could sometimes begin to haunt their dreams within weeks. Several moderators told The Verge that they had been diagnosed with PTSD after working for Facebook. Later in the year, Cognizant announced that it would leave the content moderation business and shut down its sites earlier this year.

Under the terms of the settlement, every moderator will receive $1,000 that can be spent however they like. But the companies intend for the money to be spent partly on medical treatment, covering the costs associated with seeking a diagnosis related to any mental health issues the moderator may be suffering.

The amount of money a moderator will receive beyond the initial $1,000 will depend on their diagnosis. Anyone who is diagnosed with a mental health condition is eligible for an additional $1,500, and people who receive multiple concurrent diagnoses — PTSD and depression, for example — could be eligible for up to $6,000.

In addition to payment for treatment, moderators with a qualifying diagnosis will be eligible to submit evidence of other injuries they suffered for their time at Facebook and could receive up to $50,000 in damages.

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

Read more:

Facebook will pay $52 million in settlement with moderators who developed PTSD on the job

Observations from reporters and editors and observers, below, from Twitter.

[via techmeme.com]