Facebook Europe Accused Of Ignoring Moderators' Mental Health

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Facebook Europe has come under new scrutiny for its questionable moderation practices in the continent. A current moderator accused the company of not doing enough to keep content reviewers safe.

The social media giant faced questions over its treatment of content moderators. The interrogation was triggered after a moderator told an Irish parliamentary committee that Facebook Europe isn’t doing all it can to protect the workers.

These employees filter out Facebook content that is violent and disturbing. Isabella Plunkett currently works for Covalen.


Facebook Europe is ignoring non-employee moderators

An Irish outsourcing company hires content moderators to work as contract staff. Plunkett told the committee that moderators who aren’t employees, do not get adequate access to mental health resources.

Covalen allows for an hour and a half of wellness time every week. However, the company’s wellness coaches aren’t mental health professionals.

As a result, they aren’t capable of helping moderators handle the disturbing content they usually sift through. According to Plunkett’s statement to the committee, these wellness coaches sometimes advise them to participate in karaoke, painting, and other similar activities, Vice reported.


Plunkett pointed out that it isn’t always easy to participate in such activities, especially after seeing some disturbing content. “The content is awful, it would affect anyone,” she explained during a press conference after the hearing.

Improving the quality of support

It is understandably hard for moderators to be okay since they watch graphic violence for about eight hours a day, Plunkett added. Moderators should receive the same benefits and protections that are given to full-time Facebook employees.

Moreover, she raised questions about Facebook’s non-disclosure agreements. These agreements create a “climate of fear.” Plunkett explained. As a result, moderators are afraid to seek outside help or even speak out.


A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement that the company wants to provide support to its partners, including people reviewing content.

According to the spokesperson, content reviewers pass through a thorough training program on the company’s Community Standards. In addition to that, they receive psychological support to ensure their well-being.

In Ireland, everyone who reviews content has access to 24/7 on-site support from trained practitioners. There’s also an on-call service and private healthcare from the first day of employment.


The spokesperson stated that Facebook is adopting technical solutions that will help limit their exposure to disturbing content. Facebook Europe considers it to be an important issue and is working to get this right.