stiamo tranquilli…

I moderatori di Google e il disturbo da stress post-traumatico [EN]

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Negli uffici dell’Accenture a Austin, in Texas, ha sede il più grande centro di moderazione di contenuti YouTube negli Stati Uniti. Come spiega The Verge, centinaia di dipendenti visualizzano contenuti video suddivisi in file tematiche: una per il copyright, un’altra per l’odio, un’altra ancora per i contenuti pornografici e infine la fila VE (violent extremism), che contiene i video più macabri, spesso pubblicati da organizzazioni terroriste.

Si tratta soprattutto di immigrati che non riuscirebbero a trovare un lavoro pagato meglio, ma che, già dopo 6 mesi, manifestano problemi di ansia, depressione e terrore notturno.

Al proprio staff che si occupa di queste attività Google offre supporto psicologico e periodi di malattia pagati, dei quali ha beneficiato anche Daisy. Assunta nel 2015, si è ritrovata poci mesi dopo a dover visionare i video caricati durante gli attacchi terroristi in Francia e continuò per più un anno finché, un giorno, non ebbe il suo primo attacco di panico mentre guardava una scolaresca camminare in fila indiana tenendosi ad una corda. Gli specialisti che la seguirono le diagnosticarono un disturbo da stress post-traumatico

And yet, at Google, as at Facebook, workers are discouraged from even discussing those consequences. Managers who warn them that they can be easily replaced, coupled with the nondisclosure agreements that they are forced to sign upon taking the job, continue to obscure their work.

And as some portion of them sinks into anxiety and depression, they will get very different care based on whether they work as full-fledged employees or as contractors. A relative few, like Daisy, will be able to take months of paid medical leave. Others, like one person I spoke with in Austin, will continue working until they are hospitalized.

Still, the fact remains: no matter how well you are paid or how good the benefits are, being a content moderator can change you forever.

Recently, an employee of one of the big tech companies explained to me the concept of “toxic torts” — laws that allow people to sue employers and homebuilders if they expose the plaintiff to unhealthy levels of a dangerous chemical. These laws are possible because we have a scientific understanding of how certain chemicals affect the body. We know that exposure to lead-based paint, for example, can cause brain damage, especially in children. We know that exposure to asbestos can cause lung cancer. And so we establish a safe level of exposure and attempt to hold employers and homebuilders to those levels.

Perhaps we will never be able to determine a safe level of exposure to disturbing content with the same degree of precision. But it seems notable that none of the tech giants, which employ tens of thousands of people to do this work, are even trying.

Immagine da Know Your Meme.


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