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🚨 Special report: the link between content moderation and PTSD, confirmed

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Good morning! I'm sending a rare, brief Friday edition of this newsletter to draw your attention to a
 
January 24 · Issue #445 · View online
The Interface
Good morning! I’m sending a rare, brief Friday edition of this newsletter to draw your attention to an important story that we just published.
The story, based on leaked documents and interviews, confirms what I have long suspected: tech companies know that content moderation can cause PTSD, and they are trying to shift blame for it onto workers.
Last month, we published an investigation into Accenture’s Austin site, where hundreds of moderators work to remove violent extremism and other disturbing content from YouTube. Several told me their mental health was in a dire state.
Four days later, Accenture ordered employees to sign a new document stating that reviewing YouTube videos can cause PTSD, and orders them to tell their supervisor about negative changes to their mental health.
To my knowledge, this represents the first time that employers have confirmed the link between content moderation and severe long-term mental health problems.
Labor attorneys told me the document could be construed as a an order to disclose a disability to an employer, which would be illegal. In any case, they said, Accenture cannot waive its obligation under the law to provide a safe workplace for its employes. One said they ought to redesign the jobs to be safer, rather than … whatever this document is.
I asked Accenture whether it informed its other content moderation clients, which include Facebook and Twitter, that they are at risk for PTSD. It refused to answer.
Ultimately this is a case that will be decided in court. But today we know for sure what we’ve long suspected: content moderation causes PTSD. And tens of thousands of people around the world are at risk.
I hope you’ll read the story and let me know what you think. And we’ll have more to say on the subject next week.

Talk to us
Send us tips, comments, questions, and leaked documents: casey@theverge.com and zoe@theverge.com.
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