March 31, 2023

FILE PHOTO: A 3D-printed Facebook logo is seen placed on a keyboard in this illustration taken March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, is the target of yet another lawsuit brought by one of the firm’s former content moderators. It is reported by The Washington Post that Daniel Motaung has filed a lawsuit against the corporation and a San Francisco subcontractor named Sama, alleging that the company and Sama trafficked Africans to work in Kenya under exploitative and unhealthy working circumstances. According to the complaint, Sama used deceptive employment advertisements to recruit impoverished individuals from around the area, including those from Kenya, South Africa, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Uganda, among other countries. The employees claim they were never informed that they would be working as Facebook moderators and that they would be required to watch distressing information as part of their employment.

During his first six months on the job, Motaung claimed to have witnessed a video of someone being decapitated, and he was sacked for attempting to lead employees’ unionisation efforts. A Time investigation into the working circumstances at the office where Motaung worked indicated that some workers had suffered from emotional stress as a result of their occupations, according to the article. At Sama, a startup that describes itself as a “ethical AI” company that provides “dignified digital jobs” to individuals in areas such as Nairobi, there are counsellors on hand. Staff, on the other hand, were largely sceptical of the counsellors, and Sama allegedly rejected the counsellors’ recommendation to allow workers to take health breaks throughout the day regardless.

Motaung, on the other hand, said in his case that his profession had been traumatic for him and that he now had a dread of dying. “I had a lot of promise. When I travelled to Kenya, I went because I wanted to make a positive difference in my life. I wanted to make a difference in the lives of my family members. The person I came out as was completely different; it was a person who had been annihilated “He made a point of it. A non-disclosure agreement was also required of Motaung, and he was paid less than was promised – 40,000 Kenyan shillings (about $350) according to the case, which was filed in Kenya. According to a Time magazine study, workers were leaving in droves as a result of inadequate compensation and working conditions.

Harrowing accounts of Facebook moderators being forced to view horrifying videos and working in substandard circumstances are not new and have been reported from all over the globe, including the United States. In fact, the business agreed to pay $52 million to its content moderators in the United States as part of a class action lawsuit that was filed in 2020. The payment for those who were diagnosed with psychiatric problems as a result of their jobs ranged from $5,000 to $50,000.

“We expect our partners to deliver industry-leading salary, perks, and support,” said Meta’s Nairobi office in a statement to The Washington Post. “We also encourage content reviewers to report concerns as soon as they become aware of them, and we perform independent audits on a regular basis to ensure that our partners are fulfilling the high standards that we require of them,” the company said.


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