Social media giants Facebook have agreed to pay content moderators $52m as compensation for the mental health issues suffered by the employees.

Approximately 11,250 moderators are eligible for the pay-outs. They will receive a minimum of $1,000 which could increase if they’re diagnosed with PTSD or similar ailments.

The agreement was reached last week in a California court. A judge expected to ratify it in the next few months.

The settlement is applicable for moderators who worked in California, Arizona, Texas and Florida from 2015 until today.

Facebook has stated that it uses both artificial intelligence (AI) and human workers to monitor content on the platform. AI moderation has been increased during the coronavirus lockdown. This reportedly is so that employees working from home are not exposed to unsettling content.

The case which has just been settled dates back to 2018 when a moderator, Selena Scola, filed a lawsuit against Facebook. She was joined by other contractors, who were employed by a third party company to work for Facebook.

At that point, in late 2018, Facebook employed 7,500 moderators around the world to moderate an estimated 10 million posts per week.

Moderators forced to work under terrible conditions

At the forefront of the moderators’ grievance were the graphically violent images they viewed as part of their job. This included instances of murder, rape and suicide, which they say led to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In 2019 The Verge publication uncovered a situation involving Facebook moderators (hired through Cognizant) working in terrible conditions in Phoenix and Tampa. Not only were their working conditions very stressful, but they also only received an annual salary of $28,800.

Facebook has also agreed to implement new tools designed to minimize the impact of seeing harmful content.

“We are grateful to the people who do this important work to make Facebook a safe environment for everyone,” said Facebook spokesman Drew Pusateri in an emailed statement.

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

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