A recent investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) has uncovered alarming mental health issues among content moderation teams at popular dating apps including Grindr, Bumble, and Match Group’s platforms. Interviews with over 40 staff members revealed widespread instances of anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
High Pressure, Low Pay
The report points to a toxic combination of low pay and unreasonable targets as significant factors contributing to these mental health challenges. Grindr’s content moderators, mostly outsourced through PartnerHero, reportedly face immense pressure to make quick decisions about user bans, often within a minute. These moderators, many based in Honduras, earn an average of $700 a month, a wage that hardly compensates for the high-stress nature of the job.
Errors and Understaffing
Understaffing is a major concern, leading to errors in handling abuse reports. This not only puts the moderators under additional stress but also endangers users who might be facing sexual harassment or assault. The pressure to meet high productivity targets has resulted in severe mental stress, with some employees alleging that their concerns were ignored by the company.
Inadequate Mental Health Support
The mental health support provided to the moderators has been criticized as insufficient. Despite making record profits, Grindr and its outsourcing partner have been slow to address the mental wellbeing of their employees. It wasn’t until 2020 that PartnerHero contracted a third-party organization to provide therapy. Before this, moderators handling disturbing content, such as child sexual abuse or domestic abuse cases, had little support.
Testimonies of a Toxic Work Environment
Many former Grindr moderators have shared experiences of a hostile work environment, marked by high stress and the constant threat of job loss for not meeting stringent quality scores. The impact of these conditions is evident in the high turnover rate and the prevalence of mental health issues among the staff.
Calls for Change
This report sheds light on the often overlooked challenges faced by content moderators, whose work is crucial to maintaining safe online environments. The mental health crisis among these workers calls for urgent action from companies like Grindr, Bumble, and Match Group to improve working conditions, provide adequate pay, and ensure robust mental health support for their moderation teams.