NPR: In Settlement, Facebook To Pay $52 Million To Content Moderators With PTSD. “Facebook will pay $52 million to thousands of current and former contract workers who viewed and removed graphic and disturbing posts on the social media platform for a living, and consequently suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a settlement agreement announced on Tuesday between the tech giant and lawyers for the moderators.”
ABC News (Australia): Chris sorted through the ‘blood and gore’ on social media. Now he’s suing Facebook over PTSD. “They see the worst the internet serves up so, in theory, you don’t have to. People post shocking violence, sexual abuse, and vitriol-filled hate speech. But those whose job it is to sift through and scrutinise the dark side of social media say the work is taking a heavy toll.”
BBC: Facebook and YouTube moderators sign PTSD disclosure. “Content moderators are being asked to sign forms stating they understand the job could cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to reports. The Financial Times and The Verge reported moderators for Facebook and YouTube, hired by the contractor Accenture, were sent the documents.”
The Verge: Bodies in Seats . “In May, I traveled to Florida to meet with these Facebook contractors. This article is based on interviews with 12 current and former moderators and managers at the Tampa site. In most cases, I agreed to use pseudonyms to protect the employees from potential retaliation from Facebook and Cognizant. But for the first time, three former moderators for Facebook in North America agreed to break their nondisclosure agreements and discuss working conditions at the site on the record.” I want you to read this article. At the same time I don’t want you to read this article because just reading it made me nauseated.
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News: PTSD Diagnosed through Voice Analysis Using AI. “Scientists in the United States have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) tool, or classifier, that can diagnose posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans by analyzing their voices. Tests showed that the new tool could distinguish between individuals who did or did not have PTSD, with 89% accuracy. With further refinement the tool could potentially be used in a clinical setting to remotely diagnose PTSD, a condition for which the New York University (NYU) School of Medicine-led team acknowledges there is currently no objective test.”
CNET: Facebook content moderators are suffering from PTSD, lawsuit claims . “A new lawsuit alleges Facebook fails to protect moderators who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder after viewing violent and disturbing content people attempt to post on the social network.”
Engadget: Google search quiz can help diagnose PTSD. “Google is continuing its efforts to help you improve your mental health. Search for ‘posttraumatic stress disorder’ or related keywords on your phone and you’ll now have the option of taking a clinically validated questionnaire that can screen for signs of PTSD. This won’t provide a definitive answer (Google stresses the importance of an in-person diagnosis), but it can give you useful knowledge to take to your doctor.”
Nature: Forecasting the onset and course of mental illness with Twitter data. “We developed computational models to predict the emergence of depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Twitter users. Twitter data and details of depression history were collected from 204 individuals (105 depressed, 99 healthy). We extracted predictive features measuring affect, linguistic style, and context from participant tweets (N = 279,951) and built models using these features with supervised learning algorithms. Resulting models successfully discriminated between depressed and healthy content, and compared favorably to general practitioners’ average success rates in diagnosing depression, albeit in a separate population.”
From the Library of Congress: New Web Feature Highlights Veterans Living with PTSD. “The Veterans History Project (VHP) today launched ‘PTSD: A Lasting Impact of War,’ the latest installment in its online ‘Experiencing War’ website series. The site examines 12 digitized collections found in the VHP archive, all of which include veterans describing their military service, its impact on their mental health and the challenges they have faced in finding the care they need while living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”
The Daily Beast: Microsoft Anti-Porn Workers Sue Over PTSD. Terrible headline. “When former Microsoft employees complained of the horrific pornography and murder films they had to watch for their jobs, the software giant told them to just take more smoke breaks, a new lawsuit alleges.” I’m linking to this here because apparently Mechanical Turk workers also sometimes have to look at graphic and disturbing imagery, and they don’t even have the HR protections to file a lawsuit – at least I wouldn’t think they do because they’d be considered contract workers. Horrifying.
KSLA: Psychologists see link between PTSD, violent social media posts</a. "A study by Dr. Pam Ramsden, of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Bradford, found that viewing violent new events such as [those] on social media can cause people to experience symptoms similar to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)." I was just thinking about this this morning, only I was thinking about the people on Mechanical Turk. Apparently some of those folks have to regularly look at horrifying, graphic images without any kind of help or support system.