Earlier today, a lawsuit was filed against U.S. social media giant Meta and Sama, its main content moderation subcontractor in Africa, over allegations of union busting and exploitation.
The law firm representing Daniel Motaung, a former content moderator and Facebook whistleblower allegedly fired for organizing a strike in 2019 and trying to unite subcontractor employees, alleges Meta and Sama “subjected current and former content moderators to forced labor and human trafficking for labor.”
The law firm said in a statement that Sama also conducted a “deceptive recruitment process” by opening positions that did not mention the nature of the work that successful applicants would be doing.
“The various descriptions (call center agents, agent, and content moderator) for the position of content moderator are misleading and designed to trick unsuspecting candidates into becoming Facebook content moderators. The applicants who responded to the call of “agents” were especially deceived, lawyers for Nzuli and Nsumbi said in the case submitted to the court.
It also meant that content moderators were subjected to unfair labor relations and did not receive adequate psychological support.
“The Defendants deliberately created a toxic environment in their office in Nairobi. This is to prevent Facebook content moderators from voicing their grievances,” the law firm said.
Moderators review social media posts across all of its platforms, including Facebook, to remove those who perpetrate and perpetuate hate, disinformation and violence. The law firm also claims that the performance of Sama employees was also tracked using Meta software to measure screen time and employee movement during work hours. And that they allowed a “toxic work environment” that prevented moderators from sharing the nature of the job and their experiences at Sama with third parties.
The imminent lawsuit follows a Time story detailing how Sama hired moderators under the false pretense that they were taking jobs at a call center. The Time article also states that pay for content moderators in Africa was the lowest in the world. She herself increased the salaries of employees after the exposure.
“Content moderators fight every day to make Facebook safer for billions of people in dangerous environments,” said Nzuli and Nsumbi’s Mercy Mutemi, who is also lead legal counsel on the litigation.
“With the August election so close now, there has never been a more important moment to get Mark Zuckerberg to take responsibility for the people at the forefront of the information battle during the contest,” Mutemi said.
Meta has distanced itself from these claims, stating that Motaung was not an employee.
Credit: techcrunch.com /