Facebook agreed to pay compensation of $ 52 million to content moderators to compensate for the mental health problems caused by their work.
The compensation, which represents about 48 million euros, ended a collective action in which the social network was accused of failing to adequately protect workers at its service (including subcontractors), responsible for eliminating publications that do not respect the rules of the digital platform.
The initial complaint was filed in a California court in September 2018 on behalf of Selena Scola, a former moderator who complained of post-traumatic syndrome, after spending nine months regularly viewing violent images.
"Every day, Facebook users share millions of images or live videos of child sexual abuse, rape, torture, bestiality, beheadings, suicides and homicides", complained the plaintiff in the lawsuit, cited by the France-Press agency.
The complainants accused the Mark Zuckerberg platform of using content moderators “to view these posts and eliminate those that contravene its rules”, in order to “maintain an aseptic platform, increase its already high profits and improve its public image. ”.
Under the agreement signed with the North American group, more than 11,000 moderators in the United States, still on Facebook or who have exercised these functions in the past, will receive at least $ 1,000 per person (about 922 euros).
Those diagnosed with specific diseases will also receive compensation for the medical expenses they incurred, an amount that can go up to 50 thousand dollars (about 46 thousand euros).
The agreement also provides that Facebook and companies subcontracted by the digital platform ensure psychological support to moderators with qualified therapists and better working conditions.
“We are delighted that Facebook has worked with us to create an unprecedented program to help people do this work unimaginable a few years ago. The damages that may be suffered by this work are real and severe ", said Steve Williams, the lawyer who represented the moderators, to the portal The Verge.
Facebook also issued a statement after the deal was announced, expressing its commitment to moderators.
“We are grateful to the people who do this important work to make Facebook a safe environment for everyone. We are committed to giving them additional support through this agreement and also in the future ”.
In 2019, the North American portal denounced the precarious and harmful working conditions for the health of the moderators employed by Cognizant – which has since ceased this activity -, a company subcontracted by Facebook to eliminate posts that violate the rules of the platform.
According to the magazine, workers, with low wages, around 28 thousand dollars a year (about 26 thousand euros), and a strenuous work rhythm, suffered from panic attacks and post-traumatic stress caused by the images published on Facebook .
At that time, Facebook demanded that subcontractors raise their employees' salaries and provide them with psychological counseling.