Thursday, January 27, 2022

TikTok sued by former content moderator for allegedly failing to protect her mental health

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A former content moderator for TikTok has filed a lawsuit towards the platform, alleging that dad or mum firm ByteDance offers insufficient safeguards to protect moderators’ mental health towards a near-constant onslaught of traumatic footage.

In a proposed class-action lawsuit filed within the California Central District Court, Candie Frazier says she spent 12 hours a day moderating movies uploaded to TikTok for a third-party contracting agency named Telus International. In that point, Frazier says she witnessed “thousands of acts of extreme and graphic violence,” together with mass shootings, baby rape, animal mutilation, cannibalism, gang homicide, and genocide.

Frazier says that so as to cope with the large quantity of content uploaded to TikTok every day, she and her fellow moderators had to watch between three and ten movies concurrently, with new movies loaded in not less than each 25 seconds. Moderators are solely allowed to take one 15 minute break within the first 4 hours of their shift, after which further 15 minute breaks each two hours afterwards. The lawsuit says ByteDance screens efficiency carefully and “heavily punishes any time taken away from watching graphic videos.”

The lawsuit states that TikTok and its companions have failed to meet industry-recognized requirements meant to mitigate the harms of content moderation. These embrace providing moderators extra frequent breaks, psychological help, and technical safeguards like blurring or decreasing the decision of movies below evaluate.

As a results of her work, Frazier says she has suffered “severe psychological trauma including depression and symptoms associated with anxiety and PTSD.” The lawsuit says Frazier has “trouble sleeping and when she does sleep, she has horrific nightmares. She often lays awake at night trying to go to sleep, replaying videos that she has seen in her mind. She has severe and debilitating panic attacks.”

The testimony in Frazier’s lawsuit matches reviews of content moderators working (often not directly) for different large tech corporations like Facebook, YouTube, and Google. Over the previous few years, the horrible working circumstances going through these moderators — a labor pressure that’s completely essential in sustaining the profitability of a number of the world’s largest corporations — has turn into more and more scrutinized. Reports like Frazier’s, although, counsel that regardless of the additional consideration, working circumstances for moderators are nonetheless extremely difficult.

Frazeri’s lawsuit was filed by California’s Joseph Saveri Law Firm, which beforehand filed an analogous lawsuit in 2018 towards moderators reviewing content for Facebook. That case resulted in a $52 million settlement paid by Facebook to its content moderators. The Verge has reached out to ByteDance for remark and can replace this story if we hear again.

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