TikTok moderator Candie Frazier initiated a lawsuit against the video-sharing platform and its parent company ByteDance over trauma caused by violent, graphic videos she watched for her job.
Frazier, an employee of Telus International, a digital solutions company that provides moderators for TikTok, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as a consequence of “constant and unmitigated exposure to highly toxic and extremely disturbing images at the workplace,” the complaint said. Frazier allegedly was required to work 12 hours a day with only two 15 minute breaks and an hour lunch break reviewing videos that included depictions of “genocide in Myanmar, mass shootings, children being raped, and animals being mutilated.” She was also exposed to conspiracy theory videos that suggested the pandemic is a hoax and denied the occurrence of the Holocaust. Frazier and her attorneys have proposed a class-action lawsuit.
The complaint alleges that “ByteDance and TikTok are aware of the negative psychological effects that viewing graphic and objectionable content has on content moderators. Despite this knowledge, they have not implemented safety standards known throughout the industry to protect their content moderators from harm.”
TikTok, which is facing accusations that its algorithm is toxic and promotes dangerous videos to minors, has underscored the work it is doing to moderate content. The platform vowed in December to “diversify” users’ For You feeds to prevent people from falling into dangerous rabbit holes. U.S. lawmakers are pushing for tighter legislation and regulations for social media platforms like TikTok, Facebook, and Snapchat, with hopes for President Joe Biden to take action in 2022.
“While we do not comment on ongoing litigation, we strive to promote a caring working environment for our employees and contractors,” A TikTok spokesperson said in a statement to Observer. “Our Safety team partners with third party firms on the critical work of helping to protect the TikTok platform and community, and we continue to expand on a range of wellness services so that moderators feel supported mentally and emotionally.”