Former Facebook Moderator lives in a “horror movie” after working in a dangerous and degrading environment

Facebook owner Meta and its largest outsourcing partner in Africa face new allegations of forced labor, human trafficking and trade union oppression in Kenya. This happened because Daniel Motaung, a former Moderator of the platform – people subcontracted by Facebook to decide what to stay on the social network and identify messages that should be removed for violating Mark Zuckerberg’s company-defined rules – filed a lawsuit against Facebook. A company that owns Facebook because it claims the working conditions of content controllers violate the country’s constitution.

The petition was also filed against the same company, as the former employee alleges that he and other colleagues have been exposed to inappropriate working conditions, such as irregular pay, inadequate mental health while viewing posts posted on Facebook. , the obstruction of trade unions (breaking trade unions) and the breaches of privacy and dignity that should have been addressed.

Although the lawsuit was filed in the first place by Motaung, the Kenyan intends to seek redress on behalf of the entire team, receiving compensation, health care and payroll protection similar to that of official Meta employees, and also defending the agency’s independent human rights review.

“We take our responsibility seriously to people who value meta-content and demand industry-leading pay, benefits and support from our partners. We also encourage content reviewers to raise issues when they become aware of them and conduct regular independent audits to ensure our partners meet the high standards we expect.” a spokesman told Reuters. The same refused to comment on the matter before accessing the file.

However, it previously rejected allegations of unfair pay, also emphasizing that the recruitment process is not “opaque”, as has been made public, and also disagreed with the devaluation of mental health care. “This could have a ripple effect. Facebook needs to reveal a lot about how it manages its moderation activities,” said Odanga Madung, a member of the Mozilla Foundation, a U.S. global nonprofit organization committed to protecting human rights on the Internet.

Meta “destroys the mental health of thousands of moderators”

In an interview with i at the end of last March, New York Times editor Cecilia Kang, who is signing the book Manipulados with her colleague Sheera Frankel, explained that this social network is an “advertising agency that monitors users.” In August 2019, it emerged that Facebook had hired outside workers to listen to and transcribe user recordings.

At the time, the company confirmed it was a matter of practice and controversy as Bloomberg’s website began reporting that Facebook had paid thousands of outside employees for listening to users ’audio clips, according to sources who“ know ”. the work of the company ”and which promoted this practice on a website dedicated to the themes of technology and financial market information.

According to the investigation, “employees did not know how the votes were recorded or acquired” and “they only knew they were listening to the conversations, often of normal content, but they did not know why they did it.” “Like Apple and Google, we took a break from this human evaluation a week ago,” Mark Zuckerberg’s company explained in a statement, adding that “interested users chose the option of spelling out their voice conversations in Messenger.” .

“Islamic state suicides, murders, beheadings and other acts, online suicide bombings, pedophilia, racism, violence, pornography … Moderators are subject to this and much more, and Motaung represents an entire class when he finds that employees are not quite certain of the tasks they will perform when they accept this task, “he says now, assuming that Meta” destroys the mental health of thousands of moderators “and does so because” it takes advantage of the outsourcing of scattered businesses. the world. “

“As consumers on a voluntary basis, we are constantly promoting the business of these companies. They need us to be constantly interacting and giving them information so they can sell it to advertising companies, ”he added. however, an advertising agency that monitors users! You know what we like, we do it … It’s that simple! ”.

In 2021, Meta was forced to review a content administrator’s working conditions when a judge in the U.S. state of California approved a $ 85 million settlement (equivalent to nearly $ 81 million) between him and more than 10,000 content administrators who blamed the company for failure. to protect them from the mental harm that comes from being exposed to raids and violent images.

Although Facebook did not admit abuses in the California case, it agreed to take steps to provide its safer third-party employees with safer work environments. A matter that Motaung once again condemned for recounting his experience after he was hired by Sam three years ago.

So far, it is known that the first video Motaung remembers seeing was a severance. On the other hand, the fee and mental health support were not enough to deal with “disturbing content” for him and his colleagues. “I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder,” Motaung admitted to Reuters. “I Live in a Horror Movie.”

“When I applied for a job, I had just graduated from university and had the task of lifting my family out of poverty. Six months later, my physical and mental health was destroyed. “” Mark Zuckerberg and his friends in companies like this can’t treat people that way. That’s why I do this. We’re not animals.

South Africans are represented by lawyers who point out that Meta and Sama created “a dangerous and degrading environment in which workers did not receive the same protection as workers in other countries.” “If people in Dublin can’t watch harmful content for two hours, it should be normal everywhere,” said one of the lawyers, Mercy Mutemi. “If they need a psychologist on call, it should be applied everywhere.”

Shortly after joining Sama, Motaung tried to form a union to defend the company’s approximately 200 employees in Nairobi. However, he was dismissed almost immediately, and he continues to point out that this was due to an attempt to reunite. That’s why he reported his experience personally to Time magazine in February.

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