Finally recognizing the potentially traumatizing nature of their work, Facebook has agreed to pay $52 million to past and present content moderators.
Per a preliminary settlement filed with the San Mateo Superior Court, the tech titan will pay more than 11,000 moderators at least $1,000 for their pain and suffering.
Additional compensation will be awarded to moderators who have been diagnosed with related mental-health disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder, substance user disorders and mood disorders.
Without addressing the settlement directly, Facebook issued a statement saying that it remains “grateful to the people who do this important work to make Facebook a safe environment for everyone.”
As part of the settlement, Facebook has officially admitted no wrongdoing.
Steve Williams, a lawyer representing the moderators, credits Facebook for its cooperation in the case.
“We are so pleased that Facebook worked with us to create an unprecedented program to help people performing work that was unimaginable even a few years ago,” Williams stated. “The harm that can be suffered from this work is real and severe.”
For years, Facebook has relied on thousands of moderators to determine the suitability of content for mainstream consumption. For many of them, this resulted is prolonged exposure to the most vile and inhumane content that one can imagine.
In more recent years, a number of high-profile lawsuits and news stories have shed light on the potential harm that content moderation was doing to people.
In early 2019, The Verge published a report detailing the psychological damage Facebook’s army of reviewers had to endure in exchange for annual salaries of less than $30,000.
At the time, Facebook seemed to suggest the issue was one big misunderstanding.
“There are a lot of questions, misunderstandings and accusations around Facebook’s content review practices … including how we as a company care for and compensate the people behind this important work,” Justin Osofsky, vice president. global operations at Facebook, said at the time.
Going forward, Facebook this week said it remains “committed to providing them additional support through this settlement and in the future.”