Tech

YouTube Moderator Sues Company, Says Training Videos Depicting Rapes, Beheadings Gave Her PTSD, Anxiety

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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A former YouTube moderator is suing the social media platform, claiming she began to develop post-traumatic stress disorder after the company showed her beheadings and rapes during training.

The complaint, filed in a California court on Monday, outlined the experiences of an anonymous former YouTube moderator who said the company acted negligently for about a year, VICE reported Tuesday. In one instance, trainers showed the woman “a video of a smashed open skull with people eating from it,” according to the lawsuit.

She also allegedly witnessed a “woman who was kidnapped and beheaded by a cartel; a person’s head being run over by a tank; bestiality; suicides; self-harm; children being rapped [sic]; births and abortions.” Google owns YouTube.

The trainees were instructed to leave the room if they felt uncomfortable with the content YouTube was showing them, the lawsuit alleged. The lawsuit also said that many of the trainees stayed out of concern that leaving the training session could cost them their jobs. (RELATED: Facebook Is Giving $1,000 To Content Moderators Who Said Online Trolls Turned Them Into Conspiracy Theorists)

“As the example was being presented, Content Moderators were told that they could step out of the room. But Content Moderators were concerned that leaving the room would mean they might lose their job because at the end of the training new Content Moderators were required to pass a test applying the Community Guidelines to the content,” the lawsuit said.

FILE PHOTO: Facebook, Google and Twitter logos are seen in this combination photo from Reuters files. REUTERS/File Photos/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: Facebook, Google and Twitter logos  REUTERS/File Photos/File Photo

“She has trouble sleeping and when she does sleep, she has horrific nightmares,” the lawsuit said.

“She cannot be in crowded places, including concerts and events, because she fears mass shootings. She has severe and debilitating panic attacks. She has lost many friends because of her anxiety around people. She has trouble interacting and being around kids and is now scared to have children.”

Google declined to comment on the lawsuit, citing ongoing litigation, but spokeswoman Ivy Choi told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the company is “committed to supporting the people who do this vital and necessary work.” She was referring to moderators.

The unnamed woman wants medical treatment and compensation for her alleged trauma, and is demanding YouTube establish a fund for a “medical monitoring program” for the treatment of content moderators who are similarly exposed to traumatic content.

The woman’s lawsuit comes more than a year after Facebook agreed to pay out a $52 million settlement in 2019 to thousands of current and former content moderators who said they suffered from PTSD after viewing upsetting content on the job. Each moderator is expected to receive a minimum of $1,000 if they are exhibiting trauma.
Moderating Facebook posts gave one moderator named Randy a form of PTSD and gave him a distorted view of reality, the Verge reported in 2019.

Randy said that he came to believe the 9/11 terrorist attacks were an inside job after viewing videos making the case, according to the Verge. He also claims conspiracy videos about the Las Vegas massacre were persuasive — he also now believes that multiple shooters were responsible for the attack.

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