Facebook to pay $52M in content moderators settlement

Moderators diagnosed with PTSD after viewing disturbing content

Facebook has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by content moderators who worked on the social media platform.

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The company based in Menlo Park, Calif., will pay as much as $52 million to current and former moderators for mental health issues they developed removing disturbing content from its platform, The Verge reported. The settlement will include at least $1,000 for each moderator, and workers diagnosed with PTSD or similar conditions will be eligible for more, including as much as $50,000 in damages.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

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“We are extremely pleased with the result that our clients accomplished here,” attorney Steve Williams, who represented the moderators, told FOX Business in a written statement. “It took a lot of bravery to come forward in the first place, subjecting themselves to legal risk, and the result is a great benefit to all of the class members.”

The moderators are tasked with reviewing and removing content that includes “millions of videos, images and livestreamed broadcasts of child sexual abuse, rape, torture, bestiality, suicide and murder,” according to their complaint.

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Wading through all that content led to former moderator Selena Scola being diagnosed with PTSD, the complaint states. She became the lead plaintiff on the case filed in Superior Court in San Mateo County, Calif.

A Facebook spokesperson told FOX Business that the company is grateful for the moderators who make Facebook a safe environment for everyone.

“We’re committed to providing them additional support through this settlement and in the future,” the spokesperson said.

A Facebook worker waits outside of Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

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Under the settlement, Facebook also agreed to make changes to its moderation tools in order to reduce the impact of viewing the disturbing content, The Verge reported. Audio will be muted and videos will display in black and white.

Moderators who view the graphic content will also be given access to weekly sessions with a licensed mental health professional and monthly group therapy sessions, according to the report.

The settlement still requires final approval from a judge.

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