YouTube Moderators Have to Sign a Document Acknowledging They Are Susceptible to PTSD

These low-wage workers are also at risk for being fired if they refuse to sign

YouTube
YouTube moderators at Accenture may suffer from PTSD
Kon Karampelas / Unsplash
By Kirk Miller / January 27, 2020 11:17 am

YouTube is bad for your health — so much so that moderators for the video platform are forced to sign a statement acknowledging their job might cause them post-traumatic stress disorder.

That statement was uncovered by The Verge, just days after the site ran an investigation regarding PTSD among workers at a moderation site run by Accenture in Austin, TX, where low-wage and often immigrant workers were “exposed to extreme violence and terrorist content.”

“I understand the content I will be reviewing may be disturbing,” reads the two-page document. “It is possible that reviewing such content may impact my mental health, and it could even lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I will take full advantage of the weCare program and seek additional mental health services if needed. I will tell my supervisor/or my HR People Adviser if I believe that the work is negatively affecting my mental health.”

The form describes available support services, including a wellness coach, a hotline and a human resources department. But the document also places the responsibility of mental health changes on the employees, with one employee rights attorney suggesting the contract’s language gives Accenture leeway to terminate employees who suffer mental health issues on the job (which isn’t legal and seems at odds with the 1970 Occupational Safety and Health Act). Signing the document is supposedly voluntary, but two employees told The Verge they were threatened with being fired if they didn’t sign.

A spokesperson for Accenture cited the “wellbeing of our people” as the company’s top priority, and notes they also warn moderators of potentially disturbing content on other online platforms such as Facebook and Twitter — although they would not comment if those warnings include language on PTSD.

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