We know looking through thousands of posts a day and intervening in spats online can be draining. But little is really known about the actual long term health effects of moderating content.
However, a woman that worked for one of Facebook’s
third party contractors is making a direct link between her time reviewing flagged posts and subsequent mental health issues. In a case brought in California this week
, Selena Scola claims that after just nine months working as a content manager, she suffered anxiety, social anxiety and fatigue before being diagnosed with PTSD.
It comes just over 100 years since English physician Charles Myers wrote the first paper on shell shock, which wrongly concluded that the physical effect of shell blasts led to an inability to communicate and in some cases amnesia. Although research has come a long way, there’s still a gap in knowledge about how these symptoms persist and why. Scola’s case adds further questions.
Storyful, the social media verification agency set up in 2010, responded by setting up an Employee Assistant Programme to help staff deal with issues that might affect their wellbeing. Even if Scola’s case doesn’t lead anywhere, it’s something Facebook and its partners should consider more seriously too.