According to the proposed class-action lawsuit, per the Verge, Frazier said ByteDance did not provide enough mental health support to its content moderators. She said that in her work for Telus International, a third-party contracting firm that has done moderation for TikTok, she was subjected to “thousands of acts of extreme and graphic violence.” Some of the content uploaded to the platform including footage of mass shootings, extreme animal cruelty, sexual violence against minors, and cannibalism.
During 12-hour shifts working as a moderator, she and other employees watched anywhere between three to ten videos at the same time. Due to the overwhelming amount of content uploaded to the platform, new clips were provided for moderation purposes every 25 seconds. Frazier added that moderators are only permitted to take one 15 minute break during the first four hours of their shift, and then more 15 minute breaks every two hours after that. Moderator performance is also allegedly monitored by ByteDance.
Frazier said her work for TikTok has meant she’s suffered “severe psychological trauma including depression and symptoms associated with anxiety and PTSD.” Since leaving the role, she’s also experienced “horrific nightmares” and troubles sleeping. “She often lays awake at night trying to go to sleep, replaying videos that she has seen in her mind,” the lawsuit reads. “She has severe and debilitating panic attacks.”
Last year, per NPR, Facebook paid $52 million to thousands of contract workers who served as moderators on its social media platform. They too alleged that they were subjected to graphic and disturbing posts on Facebook, and developed post-traumatic stress disorder as a direct result of their work.