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RSN™ Breaking News: Class-Action Lawsuit Filed Against Facebook

California Facebook Moderator Files Class-Action Lawsuit Against Facebook – Alleges Moderator’s Job Gave Her PTSD

According to CBS News:

A woman who worked as a content moderator for Facebook is suing the tech giant, claiming Facebook failed to adequately protect her from getting PTSD from the graphic violent images her job required her to watch.

The lawsuit, filed on Friday in California state court in San Mateo County, is seeking class-action status, the woman’s attorney said.

“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,” Korey Nelson of the law firm Burns Charest said in an announcement.

The lawsuit claims that Facebook has drafted work safety standards to protect content moderators from the graphic content they’re tasked with removing from the platform, but that it ignores those standards when it comes to its own contractors. “Instead, the multibillion-dollar corporation affirmatively requires its content moderators to work under conditions known to cause and exacerbate psychological traumaTrauma Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless in a dangerous world. Psychological trauma can leave you struggling with upsetting emotions, memories, and anxiety that won’t go away. It can also leave you feeling numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people. Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety or other emotional shocks, but any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and isolated can result in trauma, even if it doesn’t involve physical harm. It’s not the objective circumstances that determine whether an event is traumatic, but your subjective emotional experience of the event. The more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatized. Trauma requires treatment, either through counseling or therapy or through trauma-oriented support programs, such as those offered by SCARS.,” the suit alleges.

The plaintiff, Selena Scola, says in the suit she was a content moderator for Facebook employed by the contracting firm Pro Unlimited for nine months starting last June. As part of her job she was supposedly subjected to “videos, images and livestreamed broadcasts of child sexual abuse, rape, torture, bestiality, beheadings, suicide and murder,” according to the suit. She was formally diagnosed with PTSD at an unspecified time, the suit says, and is asking Facebook to set up a medical monitoring fund to treat PTSD patients.

A Facebook spokesperson did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

In the Law Firm’s Statement:

California Lawsuit Claims Facebook Fails to Properly Protect Content Moderators

Contractors Developing Ptsd From Daily Forced Viewing Of “Depraved Images”

SAN MATEO, Calif. – A groundbreaking lawsuit claims that content moderators responsible for viewing and removing a range of offensive, horrifying images and videos from Facebook are suffering from psychological trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder and are not being properly protected by the social media giant.

The lawsuit, filed on September 21 in California state court in San Mateo County, alleges that individual Facebook content moderators working under contract are bombarded daily with thousands of “videos, images and livestreamed broadcasts of child sexual abuse, rape, torture, bestiality, beheadings, suicide and murder.”

“It is well-documented that repeated exposure to such images can have a profoundly negative effect on the viewer,” says Korey Nelson of the law firm of Burns Charest LLP, which is seeking class-action status for the lawsuit. “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.”

Facebook and other internet service providers voluntarily established industry standards for training, counselingCounseling Counseling is the professional guidance of the individual by utilizing psychological methods especially in collecting case history data, using various techniques of the personal interview, and testing interests and aptitudes. A mental health counselor (MHC), or counselor, is a person who works with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental and emotional health. Such persons may help individuals deal with issues associated with addiction and substance abuse; family, parenting, and marital problems; stress management; self-esteem; and aging. They may also work with "Social Workers", "Psychiatrists", and "Psychologists". SCARS does not provide mental health counseling., and supporting content moderators more than a decade ago. But the lawsuit claims that Facebook does not follow the workplace safety guidelines the company helped create.

“Facebook has an obligation to provide its content moderators with a safe workplace,” said William Most of the Law Office of William Most. “Other tech companies implement safeguards to mitigate trauma to content moderators. Facebook must be held to the same standard.”

The proposed class action alleges negligence and failure to maintain a safe workplace. The action was filed on behalf of lead plaintiff Selena Scola of San Francisco, who worked at Facebook offices for nine months under a contract through Pro Unlimited Inc., a staffing company based in Boca Raton, Florida, which is also a named defendant in the litigation.

“Our client is asking Facebook to set up a medical monitoring fund to provide testing and care to content moderators with PTSD,” said Steve Williams of the Joseph Saveri Law Firm. “Facebook needs to mitigate the harm to content moderators today and also take care of the people that have already been traumatized.”

According to the filing, Ms. Scola started working as a Facebook content manager in June 2017 and was formally diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after experiencing symptoms that included fatigue, insomnia, and social anxiety.

Facebook reportedly receives more than a million reports of potentially objectionable content each day.

WE WILL KEEP YOU INFORMED AS THIS STORY DEVELOPS


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