Let’s break things.

by reestheskin on 25/06/2020

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From the Financial Times a few months back, this is a story about Facebook and the life of its content moderators (as in, the people who watch those videos of obscene or violent acts).

The document was distributed to all moderators at the European facility in early January via email, asking them to sign it immediately. It stated: “I understand the content I will be reviewing may be disturbing. It is possible that reviewing such content may impact my mental health, and it could even lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”

The two-page form also outlines Accenture’s WeCare programme, which provides employees with access to “wellness coaches” from whom they can receive mental health support. The company says, however, that “the wellness coach is not a medical doctor and cannot diagnose or treat mental disorders”.

What caught my eye was a phrase that you see more and more: ‘X’ is not a medical doctor and cannot diagnose or treat mental disorders’. ‘X’ can be a person or simply some text on a web page.

Too much of modern hypercapitalism is about arbitrage between honesty or morality, and the law as it is codified. The business model is dishonesty, or worse. It would be impossible to act this way if the contact was human rather than digital. This is the very feature (not a bug!) that allows the push-button extinguishing of civilian lives in far-away parts of the world by people who drive to work and pick up the kids on the way home. As for medicine, corporations will insist on exploiting similar fault lines. There was once a time when ‘medicine’ was a small part of the economy, and when it could play by an insular set of rules that both society and the practitioners recognised, if not agreed upon. Nowadays there is simply too much money to be made.

A comment from Icarus Fallen on this article:

In the new social network gig economy, your mental health, has an hourly price. Try not to sell it.

(1) Facebook content moderators required to sign PTSD forms | Financial Times