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Social Networking Giant Facebook Sued Over Mental Trauma by Former Employee

The social networking giant has maintained that all of its content reviewers have access to mental health resources

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Facebook, video chat
LinkedIn faced probe for Facebook ads targeting 18 mn non-members. Pixabay

A former content moderator at Facebook has sued the company alleging that moderators who face mental trauma after reviewing distressing images on the platform are not being properly protected by the social networking giant.

“Ex-contractor Selena Scola has sued Facebook for allegedly ‘ignoring its duty’ to protect moderators who deal with mental trauma after seeing disturbing imagery.

“Rather than create a safe environment, it’s producing a ‘revolving door of contractors’ who are permanently scarred by what they’ve seen, Scola’s lawyer Korey Nelson said,” Engadget reported on Tuesday.

According to the lawsuit, moderators at the social media giant under contract are “bombarded” with thousands of videos, images and livestreamed broadcasts of child sexual abuse, rape, torture, bestiality, beheadings, suicide and murder.

Facebook
Facebook, social media. Pixabay

The company has said it was “reviewing” the lawsuit and took moderator support “seriously” and pointed to its existing assistance, including “in house” psychological and wellness support.

“We are currently reviewing this claim. We recognise that this work can often be difficult. That is why we take the support of our content moderators incredibly seriously, starting with their training, the benefits they receive, and ensuring that every person reviewing Facebook content is offered psychological support and wellness resources,” Facebook was quoted as saying by Engadget.

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The social networking giant has maintained that all of its content reviewers have access to mental health resources, including trained professionals onsite for both individual and group counselling and that they receive full health care benefits, according to The Guardian. (IANS)

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Social Networking Giant Facebook Allows Ads to Promote Anti-vaccine Content

“We’re currently working on additional changes that we’ll be announcing soon.”

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Facebook, photos
This photograph taken on May 16, 2018, shows a figurine standing in front of the logo of social network Facebook on a cracked screen of a smartphone in Paris. VOA

Facebook has enabled advertisers to promote anti-vaccine content to nearly nine lakh people interested in “vaccine controversies”, the media reported.

The social networking giant is already facing pressure to stop promoting anti-vaccine propaganda to users amid global concern over vaccine hesitancy and a measles outbreak in the Pacific northwest.

Advertisers pay to reach groups of people on Facebook which include those interested in “Dr Tenpenny on Vaccines”, which refers to anti-vaccine activist Sherri Tenpenny, and “informed consent”, which is language that anti-vaccine propagandists have adopted to fight vaccination laws, The Guardian reported on Friday.

On Thursday, California congressman Adam Schiff, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, in letters to Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, urged them to take more responsibility for health-related misinformation on their platforms.

“The algorithms which power these services are not designed to distinguish quality information from misinformation or misleading information, and the consequences of that are particularly troubling for public health issues,” Schiff wrote.

“I am concerned by the report that Facebook accepts paid advertising that contains deliberate misinformation about vaccines,” he added.

Facebook
Facebook, social media. Pixabay

In 2017, ProPublica, a US-based non-profit organisation, revealed that the platform included targeting categories for people interested in a number of anti-Semitic phrases, such as “How to burn Jews” or “Jew hater”.

While the anti-Semitic categories found by ProPublica were automatically generated and were too small to run effective ad campaigns by themselves, the “vaccine controversies” category contains nearly nine lakh people, and “informed consent” from about 340,000. The Tenpenny category only includes 720 people, which is too few to run a campaign.

Facebook declined to comment on the ad targeting categories, but said it was looking into the issue, The Guardian reported.

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“We’ve taken steps to reduce the distribution of health-related misinformation on Facebook, but we know we have more to do,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement responding to Schiff’s letter.

“We’re currently working on additional changes that we’ll be announcing soon.” (IANS)