201912.04
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Facebook Moderator Claim Taken Against Social Media Giant

A former contractor has submitted a Facebook moderator claim against the social media platform’s Irish subsidiary in relation to psychological injuries he claims he sustained as a result of the work he was expected to carry out. He says that this work involved viewing ‘extremely disturbing, graphic and violent content’.

Earlier today Chris Gray submitted his legal action to the High Court against the Irish subsidiary of Facebook and CPL solutions, the latter being the company that contracted him to complete the moderation work.

As part of his legal action Mr Gray claims that he suffered psychological injuries as a direct result of 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. Facebook uses an extensive network of content moderators around the world. This network of moderators, thought to include 15,000 moderators, is expected to filter through all content published on the platform in order to remove inappropriate graphic content – with a 98% accuracy rating.

53-year-old Mr Gray said that he became aware of a “slow creep” whereby his “personal and political views were becoming increasingly influenced by the insidious content he was required to view.” He added that he experienced difficulty sleeping due to nightmares about the content that he viewed 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”.

He claimed that there was a lack of support and training to allow him deal with “what seemed like a relentless flow of extreme and graphic material”. He said that, due to this, his mood was greatly impacted and he could not talk about work-related issues with his superiors in a calm and professional manner.

Mr Gray is being represented Coleman Legal Partners, Dublin, and it is likely that this will be the first of a number of Facebook moderator claims submitted by individuals who allege that they are are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Foxglove, a UK-based not-for-profit group is lending its backing to the legal action and are lobbying to have Facebook address the conditions that the works must operate in.