Month: September 2019

BBC Documentary Reveals Psychological Trauma Suffered by Social Media Moderators

A BBC documentary has unveiled the working conditions and duties leading, and resulting psychological trauma, of social media moderators.

The report covered the professional experiences of Shawn Speaglem who was employed as a Facebook content moderator for a third party company Cognizant, headquartered in Florida in the United States. Despite having signed a non-disclosure agreement, Shawn spoke out on the pictures and images that workers have to review as part of Facebook’s moderation policies and processes.

He stated: “One of my first videos that I remember looking at was two teenagers grabbing an iguana by the tail and they smashed it onto the pavement while a third person was recording it. And the iguana was screaming and the kids just would not stop until the iguana was just pasted on the ground. I’ve seen people put fireworks in a dog’s mouth and duct tape it shut. I’ve seen cannibalism videos, I’ve seen terrorism propaganda videos.”

Shawn informed the documentary producers that he has experienced great stress, weight gain and depression due to the content he had to view as part of his expected duties. He stated: “I felt like I was a zombie in my seat. It really gets to you because I don’t have that bystander syndrome where I’m OK just watching this suffering and not contributing any way to deter it.”

In Ireland, where the European Union headquarters of many social media platforms are based a legal action is currently being formulated in relation to the working condition of a number of moderators. Facebook has faced legal employment actions previously. In September 2018 Selena Scola, a former content moderator with the company filed a legal action against the company in relation to the mental effects of the work. She argued that the viewing of disturbing images and videos lead to her contracting Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during the time that she was working at the Facebook headquarters in California. After she submitted her case two more former Facebook content moderators issued similar claims and, due to this, Facebook may now face a class-action lawsuit in relation to this issue.

Continual and repeated viewing of harmful content is an unfortunate part of the as part a Moderators role. These side effects can lead to psychological injury and traumatic mental suffering to the Moderators over time.

Such traumatic suffering can have a great impact depending on the actual content seen, the provision and availability of proper support mechanisms from employers to help staff to deal with work-related trauma and work targets. The latter refers to the level of work and output that must be completed each day. It is the obligation (duty of care) of the employer to ensure that they run a safe place of work, a safe system of work and to prevent harm to their staff.

 

Vaginal Mesh labelled ‘Unsafe’ by UK-based Medical Expert

Dr Chris DeArmitt, a specialist chartered chemist who has helped in excess of 9,000 women is have their vaginal mesh compensation legal cases settled, has stated that substance is unsafe to be used in the treatment of incontinence.

Vaginal mesh is, at present,  currently not being used due to suspension in the United Kingdom. This will remain so until the results of an independent safety review are delivered. The study was begun after thousands of women reported harrowing complications. DeArmitt, a leading medical specialist in the UK has appeared upon during court action against producers of vaginal mesh to speak for the prosecutors .

In the United States more than 100,000 people have submitted legal actions as a result of injuries and illnesses that the believe to have been caused by the use of vaginal mesh.

Dr DeArmitt, during an interview with Sky News, said: “There are two main reasons why any plastics material expert will tell you just obviously that this is a bad material and I have never heard anyone who disagrees with me. I see an absolute disregard for proper testing. Testing is way less than you would see on a vacuum cleaner or a washing machine. It’s shocking. I’ve never seen anything like it in my career.”

In Ireland there have some cases submitted in relation to use of vaginal mesh in recent times, particularly in 2017. Legal counsel for a number of women, who began legal actions in 2017 after undergoing the vaginal mesh procedure, said that they (the women) only became conscious of the issue after viewing media reports in the United Kingdom in relation to its use.

The US regulator, the FDA, in 2019 made the sale and distribution of all mesh that was to be used for the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse illegal due to the many safety issues experienced by the general public. In the UK, the National Institute for Care and Excellence (NICE) revealed that it will, once more, be offered as a possible alternative form of treatment for women experiencing various injuries once the ban on using it expires.

A NICE representative stated: “The benefits and risks of each type of treatment are laid out to ensure every woman is fully informed. Where the evidence is limited, this is also highlighted. There are a number of procedures recommended by NICE, including mesh procedures.”

Due to work of a number of campaigners, the use of vaginal mesh has received more and more media attention. Typical pain suffered by  women include chronic pain, not being able to make love, inability to work as usual and walking troubles. These problems arise from vaginal mesh cutting organs or becoming stuck in tissue, leaving permanent nerve damage.