TikTok moderator sues over mental trauma caused by graphic videos

A TikTok moderator has sued the social media platform and parent company ByteDance over trauma caused by graphic videos, Bloomberg reports. In a proposed class-action lawsuit, moderator Candie Frazier said she has shown videos of violence, school shootings, fatal falls and even cannibalism. “Plaintiff has trouble sleeping and when she sleeps, she has terrible nightmares,” the lawsuit said.

To make matters worse, TikTok should require moderators to work 12-hour shifts with only one hour of lunch and two 15-minute breaks. “Due to the sheer volume of content, content moderators are not allowed more than 25 seconds per video and watch three to 10 videos at a time,” the indictment said.

Plaintiff has trouble sleeping and when she sleeps, she has terrible nightmares.

TikTok has partnered with other social media companies, including Facebook and YouTube, to develop guidelines to help moderators deal with child abuse and other traumatic images. One of the suggestions is that companies limit moderator services to four hours and provide psychological support. However, according to the lawsuit, TikTok would not have implemented those guidelines.

Content moderators take the brunt of graphic and traumatic images that appear on social media, and make sure that users don’t have to experience them. One company that provides content moderators for major tech companies even acknowledged in a consent form that the job can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, social media companies have been criticized by their mods and others for not paying enough due to the psychological dangers and not providing enough mental health support. In 2018, a similar lawsuit was filed against Facebook.

Frazier hopes to represent other Tiktok screeners in a class-action lawsuit, seeking damages for psychological injuries and a court order for a moderators medical fund.

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