A $52 million settlement has been reached with Facebook in Facebook Content Moderators’ Safe Workplace Litigation.

SETTLEMENT REACHED

The Joseph Saveri Law Firm and its co-counsel Burns Charest have filed a Second Amended Complaint against Facebook.  The Facebook content moderators’ safe workplace litigation alleges that content moderators responsible for viewing and removing offensive and disturbing videos, images, and broadcasts from Facebook users are suffering from psychological trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”) and are not being protected properly by the social media company.

The Firm represents Plaintiffs Selena Scola, Erin Elder, Gabriel Ramos, April Hutchins, Konica Ritchie, Allison Trebacz, Jessica Swarner, and Gregory Shulman, who reviewed content for Facebook via various third-party vendors and contractors (e.g., Pro Unlimited, Inc., Accenture LLP, Accenture Flex LLC, and U.S. Tech Solutions, Inc.).

Facebook users post millions of videos and images daily. Some users post content depicting child sexual abuse, rape, torture, bestiality, beheadings, suicide, and murder. To maintain a sanitized platform, maximize its profits, and enhance its public image, Facebook relies on content moderators to view these posts and remove any that violate the company’s terms of use. Plaintiffs allege that they, along with the putative Class, witnessed acts of extreme and graphic violence as content moderators for Facebook. As a result of this exposure, Plaintiffs allege they developed and suffer from significant psychological trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder, including symptoms of fatigue, insomnia, and social anxiety.

In 2015, Facebook helped draft workplace safety standards to protect content moderators from this type of workplace trauma. Such safeguards include providing moderators with robust and mandatory counseling and mental health supports; altering the resolution, audio, size, and color of trauma-inducing images; and training moderators to recognize PTSD’s physical and psychological symptoms. Plaintiffs allege, however, that Facebook ignores the very workplace safety standards it helped create, and instead requires its content moderators to work in dangerous conditions that cause debilitating psychological harm. And absent the Court’s intervention, Facebook will continue to avoid its duties to provide a safe workplace for content moderators.

“This case is about protecting the people who protect the public. Content managers are human beings. They are not disposable. The psychological trauma and cognitive and social disorders these workers face are serious. But they are being ignored, and the problems will only grow worse—for the company and for these individuals. It’s our hope and goal that Facebook recognizes its obligations to these workers and creates a safer workplace for them,” said Steven Williams of the Joseph Saveri Law Firm.

The Facebook content moderators’ safe workplace litigation—Scola v. Facebook, Inc.—seeks damages, declaratory, injunctive and other equitable relief to protect the interests of Plaintiff and the Class. It seeks an order requiring Facebook to establish a fund to maintain a testing and treatment program for content moderators to receive ongoing medical testing and monitoring, and any necessary medical and psychiatric treatment, until determination is made that their psychological trauma is no longer a threat to their health.

On May 12, 2020 the Class announced that on May 5 it had filed a preliminary approval motion of settlement with Facebook for $52 million and workplace improvements. If the Court grants the motion, Class members will receive notice. Following that notice, the Class intends to file a motion for final approval. The settlement is expected to provide relief to over 10,000 former and current content moderators across the United States.

For further information and updates regarding the case and the settlement, please visit the Scola v. Facebook, Inc. settlement website.