Skip to main content

Ex-YouTube content moderator describes horrors of job in lawsuit

A former YouTube content moderator sued the platform Monday for failing to protect her mental health after she was forced to watch graphic and disturbing videos.

The lawsuit filed on Monday claims a former moderator was required to watch horrifying content like murders, child pornography, animal mutilation, and suicides as part of her job from 2018 to 2019. The plaintiff, referred to as “Jane Doe,” has since suffered from panic attacks, nightmares, and the inability to be in crowded areas after working as a moderator, the lawsuit claims.

According to the lawsuit, YouTube allegedly did not follow through in providing workplace safety standards like counseling and training moderators to recognize signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Image used with permission by copyright holder

“During the training process, YouTube failed to train content moderators on how to assess their own reaction to the images, and YouTube failed to ease cntent moderators into review of graphic content through controlled exposure with a seasoned team member followed by counseling sessions,” the lawsuit reads.

The lawsuit is looking to compensate other content moderators exposed to graphic content, ensure that YouTube provides tools and mandatory ongoing mental health support to moderators, as well as mental health screening and treatment to both current and former content moderators.

Digital Trends reached out to YouTube to comment on the lawsuit. We will update this story when we hear back.

Former Facebook content moderators have also spoken out about the horrors they saw while on the job and how it affected their mental health. In May, the social network agreed to pay its content moderator employees $52 million as part of a settlement over a lawsuit filed by workers who suffered mental health issues due to their jobs.

As part of the settlement, Facebook also agreed to make changes to its content moderation tools, including muting audio and making videos black-and-white.

Allison Matyus
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Allison Matyus is a general news reporter at Digital Trends. She covers any and all tech news, including issues around social…
YouTube to overhaul channel names with @ handles for all
Youtube video on mobile. Credits: YouTube official.

YouTube is launching “handles” to make it easier for viewers to find and engage with creators on the video-sharing platform.

The change means that soon, every channel will have a unique handle denoted by an "@" mark, "making it easier for fans to discover content and interact with creators they love," the Google-owned company said in a post announcing the change.

Read more
Searches for health topics on YouTube now highlights personal stories
The red and white YouTube logo on a phone screen. The phone is on a white background.

Google and TikTok aren't the only places people look for information on health issues. YouTube is another resource people look to for educating themselves on health-related topics. Now, YouTube has launched a new feature in an attempt to further support those queries in a different way.

On Wednesday, the video-sharing website announced its latest feature via a blog post. Known as a Personal Stories shelf, the new search-related feature will yield a "shelf" of personal story videos about the health topics users search for. Essentially, if you search for a health topic, a Personal Stories shelf may appear in your search results and it will be populated with YouTube videos that feature personal stories about people who have experienced the health issue you searched for.

Read more
This beloved TikTok feature is coming to YouTube Shorts
Two mobile devices showing two people dancing in YouTube Shorts videos.

YouTube Shorts, the video-sharing website's answer to TikTok videos, is getting a new comment reply feature and with it, looks more like its wildly popular competitor.

On Thursday, the new feature was announced via an update to a YouTube Help thread titled "New Features and Updates for Shorts Viewers & Creators." The announcement was posted by a TeamYouTube community manager.

Read more