Facebook has agreed to pay $52 million to settle a class-action lawsuit in the United States which alleged that content moderators contracted to work for the social media giant had suffered mental health problems and trauma while filtering harmful content.
The lawsuit, filed in 2018, alleged that Facebook did not properly protect moderators – employees of various technology companies that Facebook had outsourced the work to – who were keeping out harmful content like rape, murder and suicide at the social media platform.
Several of them developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health issues, it alleged, seeking damages as well as mental health screening, treatment and improvement in working conditions.
Under the preliminary settlement, filed in the San Mateo Superior Court on Friday, the tech giant agreed to pay a minimum of $1,000 per person in a settlement that covers over 10,000 current and former content moderators. Facebook has also agreed to offer counselling to those affected.
The settlement includes contractors in California, Arizona, Texas and Florida. Those diagnosed with specified conditions may also be eligible for additional compensation of up to $50,000, depending on the amount remaining in the settlement fund after payments for screening and treatments. Members of the class-action suit are expected to decide on the settlement later this year.
“This settlement relates to the U.S. only. However, we are committed to providing support for everyone who reviews content for Facebook, as we recognise that reviewing certain types of content can sometimes be difficult,” a Facebook spokesperson said.