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
[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."
Observations from reporters and editors and observers, below, from Twitter.
Thank you to the moderators in Phoenix who first described life in these facilities to me last year: https://t.co/quieXGjcdH
And thank you to the moderators in Tampa who broke their NDAs to tell the full story to the world.https://t.co/J8qYQSn7xz
— Casey Newton (@CaseyNewton) May 12, 2020
this is incredible impact from @CaseyNewton, @AdrianChen, and others that have reported to bring the world horror stories of the people who moderate your favorite social platforms https://t.co/k2x1Oe9SsV
— Ryän Mạc 🙃 (@RMac18) May 12, 2020
— Karen Wickre ☕️💻👀 (@kvox) May 12, 2020
What price for on the job PTSD? $52 million – drop in the ocean amount considering what they made last quarter alone. https://t.co/ca7wFfz8VU
— Paul Armstrong (@paul__armstrong) May 12, 2020
Sadly, this important ruling will only apply to Americans who were employed by Accenture, Genpact etc, and not the hundreds of Indian contractors who also suffered the same mental trauma.https://t.co/sxQBisA6Ns
— Anuj Srivas (@AnujSrivas) May 13, 2020
— Anne M. (@akmercog) May 12, 2020
If anything gives me pause about using Facebook at all, it's the thought of underpaid consultants sacrificing their eyes and brains so that the rest of us can share dumb memes without being confronted with images of rape, murder, and suicide.https://t.co/PV5WL3UUGD
— Alleluia SDG (@DecentFilms) May 12, 2020
Will be interesting to see if Facebook will follow this with settlements in the cases taken against it in Ireland.
| Facebook will pay $52 million in settlement with moderators who developed PTSD on the job https://t.co/SUyBJYja7u
— Joe Leogue (@JoeLeogue) May 12, 2020
.@Facebook content moderators are being paid $1K for developing major mental health issues because of their work. How much does Zuckerberg make each quarter?!? GTFOH with calling this historic. It's insulting to the over 11K people harmed. #WokeAF https://t.co/ipaI59eglq
— Danielle Moodie (@DeeTwoCents) May 12, 2020
— Jason #StayHome Kint (@jason_kint) May 12, 2020