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Case study : social media content moderation

At MindBerry, we recognise the paramount importance of providing robust mental health support to content moderation teams responsible for reviewing user-generated content. This case study showcases our dedicated approach to mental health support, and its positive impact on a specific video review team for social media platforms.

mental health case study

The role of content moderators

Content moderators are vital guardians of online platforms. They review user-generated content, ensuring it aligns with platform rules, covering text, images, videos, and comments. Their sharp focus is on detecting and handling violations like hate speech, harassment, and explicit content.

Moderators also handle user reports and appeals, investigating cases of abuse and harassment. They work round-the-clock, actively cultivating a safer online environment and upholding platform integrity.

Significance of mental health support

Mental health support for content moderators is imperative for several reasons:

  1. Protecting wellbeing: moderators face distressing content, risking anxiety, depression, and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Support offers both resources and counselling to ease emotional burdens.
  2. Enhancing performance: supported moderators excel, making better decisions, moderating consistently, and reducing burnout and absenteeism.
  3. Retention and ethics: prioritising mental health fosters a supportive culture, retaining experienced moderators and attracting new talent, aligning with ethical employment practices.
  4. Legal compliance: neglecting support can lead to legal liabilities and can harm an organisation’s reputation in some jurisdictions.

Transforming the wellbeing of a video content moderator

MindBerry provides comprehensive mental health and wellbeing support for a number of video content moderation teams. These teams are responsible for reviewing a vast volume of videos before they are uploaded to social media platforms. The nature of their work exposes them to graphic and distressing content daily, taking a toll on their mental health and overall wellbeing. One individual in particular stood out as a prime candidate for support.

The individual, whom we’ll refer to as “Sophie,” had been with the company for several years and had increasingly been experiencing symptoms of emotional distress, anxiety, and burnout. The constant exposure to violent and explicit content had begun to affect both her work performance and personal life. She struggled with intrusive thoughts, sleep disturbances, and heightened anxiety levels. It became clear that without intervention, Sophie’s wellbeing would continue to deteriorate.

Our intervention
Assessment and support plan: at the request of our client we conducted a thorough assessment of Sophie’s mental health, including a confidential interview with a licensed mental health professional. Based on this assessment, we designed a tailored support plan with regular 1-2-1 counselling sessions giving her immediate access to a mental health professional (24 x 7), and participation in group debriefing sessions with fellow moderators.

1. Mental health education: we provided Sophie with educational resources on stress management, resilience-building techniques, and the effects of prolonged exposure to graphic content. This helped Sophie understand the psychological impact of her job and equipped her with strategies to cope effectively.

2. Counselling and therapeutic support: Sophie attended 1-2-1 counselling sessions with a licensed therapist who specialised in trauma and stress-related disorders. These sessions provided a safe space for her to discuss her feelings, process traumatic experiences, and develop healthy coping mechanisms.

3. Peer support: participation in group debriefing sessions allowed Sophie to connect with colleagues facing similar challenges. These sessions promoted a sense of solidarity and encouraged more open discussions about shared experiences.

Over the course of several months, we observed significant improvements in Sophie’s mental health and overall wellbeing. The key outcomes included:

  • A noticeable reduction in anxiety and intrusive thoughts
  • Improved sleep patterns and a decrease in nightmares, helping to create a more balanced personal life
  • Enhanced coping skills and resilience in dealing with distressing content
  • Increased job satisfaction and a renewed sense of purpose in her role
  • Openness to continued counselling and support to maintain wellbeing

Sophie’s positive transformation not only benefited her mental health but also contributed to a more effective and resilient video content moderation team.

The success of Sophie’s case study demonstrates the importance of proactive mental health and wellbeing support in high-stress roles like social media content moderation, ultimately resulting in healthier, more resilient individuals and teams.

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