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Former Facebook moderator takes legal action against Meta

Former Facebook content moderator Daniel Motaung has filed a lawsuit against Meta Platforms and its local outsourcing firm Sama.

Motaung recently participated in the webinar “Facebook Content Moderation, Human Rights: Democracy and Dignity at Risk” run by independent media organisation The Real Facebook Oversight Board.

He explained the basis of his allegations of poor working conditions, unfair dismissal and flouting Kenya’s constitution levelled against the social network’s parent company.

The Real Facebook Oversight Board is part of an umbrella body and journalism initiative called The Citizens.

The ongoing story of Motaung’s allegations has been picked up by several media outlets, including The Guardian online, after it was first revealed by Time magazine earlier this year.

During the webinar, Motaung said: “The job advert did not really say the fact that the job entailed me having to deal with graphic content almost on a daily basis. This graphic content has the potential to cause me life-long harm, such as PTSD and other mental health-related issues.”

Motaung added that his quality of life has changed and he has a heightened fear of death. “My life is like a horror movie.”

He has gone to the court to seek mental healthcare compensation for African content moderators that is equal to compensation in the US and other parts of the world.

Motaung also alleges his employment with Sama was terminated after his attempt to establish a trade union incorporating workers in Nairobi.

His legal representative Mercy Mutemi said it is considered human trafficking to move someone from their country to a job they didn’t apply for, as experienced by her client, who is originally from South Africa.

A statement released by The Real Facebook Oversight Board reads: “Facebook has demonstrated once again that they cannot be trusted to oversee or moderate their own content, or keep users and even employees safe. Meta’s reckless and inadequate approach to content moderation is putting lives and democracies at risk.”

It added: “Facebook must absorb the costs of what it takes to keep its platform safe. Moderators around the world have demanded they be valued and treated like the safety-critical workers they are. That means at least the same level of pay, job security, benefits and protection for mental health as Facebook staff.”

No response to ITWeb Africa’s requests for comment was forthcoming from Meta, Facebook or Sama at the time of publishing.

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