Claims News

More Social Media Moderator Claims Likely as Man (53) files claim against Facebook

Posted on: December 4th, 2019

The first of a number of social media moderator claims has been submitted in Dublin today.

Chris Gray, who was previously employed CPL solutions for a contract as a content moderator with Facebook has submitted a action seeking damages against both the social media giant and the contracting agency due to, what he claims are, psychological injuries he suffered arising out his work duties. These duties, he alleges, included viewing ‘extremely disturbing, graphic and violent content’.

Mr Gray filed his compensation action today at the High Court, claiming that the “very disturbing” photographs and videos, including executions, lethal beatings, stonings, whippings, the abuse of children, animal torture and extreme sexual content” that he had to view during his time moderating Facebook content lead to the psychological injuries.

In addition to viewing the disturbing content, there was more pressure to make the correct decision regarding the suitability of the content to be allowed to be published on Facebook. The expected work outcome was a 98 per cent accuracy rating. Mr Gray said that he had eventually become “numb and desensitised” to the content and increasingly irritable, sensitive, argumentative and aggressive.

Facebook’s network of content moderators includes 15,000 based at various locations around the world. These people are charged with the task of reviewing all content published on the platform in order to remove inappropriate graphic content.

53-year-old Mr Gray said that he became conscious of a “slow creep” in that his “personal and political views were becoming increasingly influenced by the insidious content he was required to view.” He claims that that he developed difficulty sleeping due to the terrible dreams that were caused by the disturbing content he witnessed and would often wake during the night “with a fright, concerned not by the content, but by whether or not he had marked it correctly during his shift”.

Coleman Legal Partners, Dublin, are representing Mr Gray. It is predicted that this is just the first of many of this type of legal action in Ireland. A United Kingdom-based not-for-profit group, Foxglove is supporting the the legal action. They have been involved in a campaign to have Facebook improve the conditions that the works must operate in.

Mr Gray referenced an absence of adequate support and training provided for staff which would allow them to manage “what seemed like a relentless flow of extreme and graphic material”. He alleged that that this absence of support had a huge impact on him and resulted in him being unable to discuss work-related issues with his superiors in a calm and professional way.

Responding to the submission of the legal action a Facebook representative said that the company was aware that “reviewing certain types of content can sometimes be difficult”. However she claimed that the company is allowing for training and full-time support to moderators along with technical solutions to control the amount of graphic material they must view and said “this is an important issue and we are committed to getting this right.” CPL was unavailable for comment.



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