Facebook agreed to pay $52 million to all moderators who developed PTSD from their work. The measure, agreed with the Superior Court of Santa Mateo, California, includes not only employees who left the company but also those who remain in it. The latter, in addition to being compensated for the damages, will receive advice from the social network to continue doing their work.
Each of the 11,250 moderators involved must receive a minimum of $1000. If the diagnosis concludes that they have PTSD or other mental conditions such as depression, addiction- they may qualify for a maximum figure of $50,000. According to the attorneys who handled the case, more than half can claim the additional payment. The problem, of course, is much more serious than initially believed and represents yet another blemish on Facebook's long history of scandals.
Steve Williams, a lawyer said in a statement, "We are so pleased that Facebook worked with us to create an unprecedented program to help people performing work that was unimaginable even a few years ago. The harm that can be suffered from this work in real and severe."
It was in September 2018 when Selena Scola, a former Facebook moderator, sued the company for causing post-traumatic stress disorder after 9 months. The cause? Constant exposure to highly toxic and extremely disturbing images. Beyond the unpleasantness of the content that they must deal with on a daily basis, the victim accused Facebook of not providing him with the adequate training to cope with his work, specialized mental health services had to be involved, and the company did not provide them.
According to Scola, her responsibility as a moderator required her to examine content on child sexual abuse, rape, torture, beheading, suicide, and murder, among many other unpleasant things that appear on the internet. Fortunately, Scola was not left alone in her purpose, as other moderators gradually joined in, presenting the same consequences of the difficult work. Over the months, those affected grew in number and managed to attract reflectors.
The California Court found that moderators can spend the money they get on whatever they want. Facebook said in a statement, " 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."