a content moderator files a complaint against Meta (Facebook) in Kenya

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a content moderator files a complaint against Meta (Facebook) in Kenya

A former content moderator for Facebook in Kenya filed a complaint on Tuesday May 10 against Meta, the parent company of the social network, which he accuses of exploitation, a new dispute for the global platform criticized by many NGOs. The complaint describes working conditions “unworthy”, from deceptive hiring methods to irregular and insufficient pay, lack of psychological support, performance pressure and invasions of privacy and dignity, in violation of the Kenyan constitution.

The complaint was filed by Daniel Motaung, a South African who worked for Sama, a Meta contractor responsible for moderating content on Facebook for countries in East and South Africa, an essential activity. to remove problematic content (violence, harassment, misinformation, etc.) from the platform. “The first video I saw was a live decapitation,” told Daniel Motaung during a press conference organized by the Real Facebook oversight board, an anti-Facebook association (link in English).

(Translation : “Advocates and whistleblowers demand that Facebook end abuse of content moderators.”)

“Imagine what it can do to a normal person, if then you watch other videos and images and similar content, every day”, Explain Daniel Motaung who says he suffers from post-traumatic syndrome.

“We take our responsibility to the people who review content for Meta seriously and require our partners to provide industry-leading salaries, benefits and support”reacted a spokesperson for Meta, contacted by AFP.

“We encourage moderators to speak up about issues when they arise, and we conduct regular independent audits to ensure our partners are performing to high standards that we expect.”

A spokesperson for Meta

at AFP

According to Daniel Motaung and his lawyers, who say they represent 240 Sama content moderators in the Nairobi office, the contractor recruits employees without telling them specifically what their job will be, citing “administrative tasks“. The complaint assures that Sama chooses the candidates according to their modest origins under the pretext of lifting them out of poverty, and coming from different countries, so that they understand the different languages ​​spoken on the continent and therefore on Facebook.

Meta and Sama “recruit moderators through fraudulent and deceptive methods, constituting an abuse of power, exploiting the vulnerability of young, poor and desperate candidates”, lawyers say in the court document. “Many were hired and brought to Kenya before they understood the nature of their work. (…) They were therefore victims of human trafficking in a modern form of slavery prohibited by Article 30 of the Constitution”, they continue.

“They told us that they could easily replace us. They told us, we are doing you a favor. (…) Take what we give you and close it.”

Daniel Motaung, former moderator

at AFP

The complaint also details poor working conditions, not adapted to the difficulty and the arduousness of the tasks, and the non-respect of the rights of the employees, such as that of unionizing. The lawyers specify that Sama hires “wellness coaches”whose training is not sufficient for the mental health needs of moderators and which do not offer a “confidential relationship” to employees.

Two years ago, Facebook was ordered to pay thousands of content moderators in the United States $52 million as compensation for job-related trauma.

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