Attorneys for a man who once worked as a content moderator for Facebook have filed a lawsuit accusing the company of exploitative and unsafe working conditions.
The case against Meta Platforms FB-Q, Facebook’s parent company, and the outsourcing firm Sama was lodged Tuesday with a court in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
Daniel Motaung’s petition “calls upon Kenya’s courts to order Facebook and its outsourcing companies to end exploitation in its Nairobi moderation hub, where content moderators work in dangerous conditions,” said a statement by Foxglove, a London-based legal non-profit that supports Facebook content moderators.
The lawsuit notes that content moderators must view “toxic content” including graphic violence, exposing them to mental health issues. It also seeks orders for Facebook and Sama to respect moderators’ right to unionize.
Meta in Nairobi said it takes seriously its responsibility to people who review content for the company and requires its “partners to provide industry-leading pay, benefits and support,” according to a statement issued by the company’s spokeswoman.
“We also encourage content reviewers to raise issues when they become aware of them and regularly conduct independent audits to ensure our partners are meeting the high standards we expect of them,” the statement said.
It was not immediately possible to get a comment from Sama.
Motaung’s petition seeks the court’s declaration that Facebook and Sama acted unlawfully by allegedly “placing misleading job ads that informed applicants neither that they would be working as Facebook content moderators, nor about the extremely disturbing content they would be moderating,” that statement said.
Motaung, a South African, says he was dismissed from Sama in 2019 after trying to lead efforts by content moderators to unionize for better terms.
“We are not animals,” Motaung said in the statement. “We are people – and we deserve to be treated as such.”
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