Former TikTok content reviewers Reece Young and Ashley Velez are suing the parent company for failing to provide adequate support as they worked on the disturbing act of removing highly objectionable content from the platform. This lawsuit was filed on Thursday in a federal court of law.
Both the plaintiffs worked in third-party companies, a New York-based company called Atrium and Canadian tech firm Telus International. Young and Velez are going for class-action status for their lawsuits that would enable other moderators of TikTok to join in on the lawsuit who were negatively impacted by the practices of the company.
According to the allegations made by the lawsuit, both Byte Dance and TikTok had violated California labor laws by failing to provide mental health support despite the mental risks attached with the “ abnormally dangerous activities” they had to engage in on a day to day basis. The lawsuit further claims that the company burdened them with high daily quotas after which the harm was amplified as they had to sign NDA’s preventing them legally from discussing what they saw.
The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiffs would spend 12 hours every day reviewing disturbing and extreme content like rape, child sexual abuse, bestiality, torture, murder, suicides, and beheadings to name a few. Above and beyond this, both Young and Velez were exposed to hate speech and conspiracy theories, putting their mental health at risk.