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Former Facebook employee sues company, claims job gave her PTSD

By
Ray Downs
A former Facebook content moderator says she developed PTSD from watching depraved images on the job every day. File Photo by Gian Ehrenzeller/EPA-EFE
A former Facebook content moderator says she developed PTSD from watching "depraved images" on the job every day. File Photo by Gian Ehrenzeller/EPA-EFE

Sept. 25 (UPI) -- A former content moderator at Facebook has filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming she developed post-traumatic stress disorder from viewing "depraved images" on the job.

In the lawsuit, filed on Sept. 21 in California, Selena Scola claims Facebook content moderators are required to watch thousands of "videos, images and livestreamed broadcasts of child sexual abuse, rape, torture, bestiality, beheadings, suicide and murder" every day.

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Scola alleges Facebook and Pro Unlimited Inc., a staffing company based in Boca Raton, Fla., were negligent and failed to maintain a safe workplace. The constant exposure to the disturbing images led to Scola being formally diagnosed with PTSD, as well as experiences of fatigue, insomnia and social anxiety, according to the lawsuit.

She stopped working for the company in March. Her suit asks that Facebook and Pro Unlimited fund medical monitoring programs that would help diagnose and treat Scola and other content moderators for psychological injuries, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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

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In a statement to Engadget, Facebook said it is "reviewing" the lawsuit and takes moderator support "incredibly seriously."

"We are currently reviewing this claim. We recognize that this work can often be difficult. That is why we take the support of our content moderators incredibly seriously, starting with their training, the benefits they receive, and ensuring that every person reviewing Facebook content is offered psychological support and wellness resources," Facebook said.

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