Sputnik discussed the post-traumatic stress disorder some of the Facebook moderators might have as a result of their work with Diana Parkinson, a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist.
Sputnik: What is post-traumatic stress disorder?
Diana Parkinson: Post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD, is a psychiatric syndrome that develops after exposure to life-threatening events or extremely frightening events. And so there are changes in the brain: it alters the cognitive processes, it affects memory, attention, problem-solving, everything. It affects our ability to function in a healthy way.
Sputnik: What's the impact of violent visual and audio stimuli on the brain?
We become familiar with it, it becomes a twisted normal. And so the more that we see it, in a way, the less shocked we are; because our brains adjust to it, that this becomes the new normal, even though we know it's not normal. And of course, it's that clash, if you like, of the prior knowledge that this is wrong to this "but I keep seeing this all the time." There are obviously lots of people doing this or being involved in this.
Sputnik: In the report, it emerged that Facebook moderators took drugs and drank alcohol at work, and even had sex in office bathroom stalls in the attempt to cope with what they saw each day. These are clearly only palliatives — so how can moderators deal with the issue in a healthier, more effective way?
Diana Parkinson: They should be perhaps doing it for shorter spells of time, and then doing something completely different. There should be a proper therapy set-up immediately after each shift, perhaps a group or one-to-one support to debrief really the person from what they've seen. That would be the only way.
It needs to be handled properly, and people need to be rotated, so that it's not a daily bombardment; because there's a point when the pathways of the brain have been so distorted you can't get them back.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.