Some of the social media platforms hired content reviewers to tackle the flak they received for some of the controversial content available on those platforms. However, this seeming solution comes with its own set of problems, that of low wages, excessive labor load, and psychological problems caused by long-term exposure to harmful content.
Recently, more than 3,000 U.S. employees serving as Facebook content auditors at the Indian outsourcing giant, Cognizant have launched a class-action lawsuit against Facebook and Kochi. The plaintiffs demand $5 million in economic compensation for the damage that has triggered psychological trauma and PTSD for the content auditors.
The kind of harmful content that has made its way to social media has harmed the mental health of its young users; contents ranging from hate speech to extremist crimes such as juvenile sexual exploitation or even some killings done by extremists have found their way to Facebook and similar platforms.
To tackle this problem, Facebook hired tens of thousands of content moderators who read content uploaded by users, supervises and deletes them according to the company’s user agreement. However, Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg has pointed out that it is the government that regulates and formulate the details for the content that is put online.
The lawsuit is asking for a medical monitoring fund to help the injured, compensation for losses including but not limited to loss of wages, medical expenses, loss of future income capacity, loss of mental suffering and enjoyment of life, and reasonable litigation and attorney fees. The annual salary of these content auditors is less than 30,000 USD whereas the average salary of a full-time Facebook worker is 240,000 USD.
The plaintiffs Debrina Garrett and Clifford Jerry filed a revised class-action suit on March 7 and demanded a trial by jury. The plaintiffs included online auditors in Florida and Arizona, USA.
Under pressure and public criticism, some Facebook outsourcers announced that they would raise wagers for content auditors in India and other regions.