Barcelona Court Rules Former Facebook Moderator's Mental Health Suffered Due to Job Duties

Barcelona Court Rules Former Facebook Moderator’s Mental Health Suffered Due to Job Duties

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El juzgado de Barcelona dictamina que la salud mental de un ex moderador de Facebook ha quedado dañada tras hacer su trabajo

It is one of those precedent-setting cases in a country, and although there have been judgments outside of ours, a trial of this scope has never occurred under our jurisdiction, let alone with this resolution. The Barcelona Court of Justice has ruled in favor of a former Facebook employee, determining that their mental health has been damaged by their work. But what does this refer to exactly, and how did we get to this point?

It’s quite intriguing because this case could have significant implications for the working relationships between social media content companies and their moderators. The decision by the Barcelona court, now confirmed by Social Security, states that the psychiatric treatment required for the moderator is a direct consequence of their job, granting them the right to additional compensation as sick leave. Was the content they had to view so extreme?

The mental health of the former moderator is damaged due to the content they had to view on Facebook.

The moderator in question worked between 2018 and 2020 at CCC Barcelona Digital Services, an entity linked to Telus International, one of Facebook’s parent companies, Meta. Telus, voicing dissatisfaction with the decision, announced its intention to appeal the ruling. Meanwhile, a Meta spokesperson declined to comment, saying the company was not a party to the case.

This legal milestone in Spain represents the first time a court has recognized that a content moderator’s sick leave originated from their job. Francesc Feliu, the lawyer for the affected worker, also represents another 20 CCC moderators facing similar legal dilemmas.

The court revealed that the former employee was exposed to extremely disturbing content, such as “self-harm, beheadings of civilians killed by terrorist groups, torture inflicted on people, suicides,” significantly contributing to their mental decline.

CCC company, attempting to reverse the Social Security agency’s decision, filed a lawsuit in 2022, arguing that the moderator’s mental health condition was not related to their job.

However, in the ruling issued on January 12th, Judge Jesús Fuertes dismissed CCC’s claim, stating that the worker experienced a “situation of great emotional and psychological impact in their position.” The same judge affirmed that the sick leave granted in 2019 was “unequivocally provoked by the working conditions of being a moderator.”

The worker’s inability to perform their duties was attributed to severe anxiety that included panic attacks, isolation, dysphagia, and thanatophobia, as detailed in the court ruling. London-based technology justice advocacy group Foxglove’s director, Martha Dark, praised the court’s decision, stating they were “100% correct in recognizing that keeping Facebook safe causes mental health illnesses.”

Dark urged Meta to compensate the former moderator for the damages suffered and ensure ongoing mental health care and safe working environments for thousands of workers worldwide performing similar roles.

The Barcelona court’s decision could have global ramifications, leading to an increase in awareness and regulation to ensure safe working environments in the social media content moderation industry.

The post Barcelona court rules that a former Facebook moderator’s mental health has been damaged after carrying out their job first appeared at El Chapuzas Informático.

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