Meta, Outsourcing Company Sued For Union Busting, Human Trafficking - Report

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Arabnews24.ca:Friday 27 May 2022 08:08 PM: https://sputniknews.com/20220527/meta-and-an-outsourcing-company-sued-for-union-busting-human-trafficking---report-1095837919.html

Meta, Outsourcing Company Sued For Union Busting, Human Trafficking - Report

Meta, Outsourcing Company Sued For Union Busting, Human Trafficking - Report

A February report by TIME exposed the working conditions of Meta’s* outsourced content moderation as a digital “Sweatshop.” 27.05.2022, Sputnik International

2022-05-27T23:53+0000

2022-05-27T23:53+0000

2022-05-28T00:06+0000

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A lawsuit has been filed in Nairobi, Kenya, accusing Meta and an outsourcing company called Sama of violating labor laws and the Kenyan constitution.Filed on May 10, the suit filed by Daniel Motaung accuses the two companies of union busting, wage theft, racial discrimination, psychological torture, unequal pay for equal work, and human trafficking, among other accusations.Sama provides content moderation for Facebook in Africa. According to the suit, the company treated employees poorly, misled them with inaccurate or vague job postings and then subjected them to disturbing content.Content moderators were subjected to content that included beheadings, the sexual abuse of children, kidnapping, and murder. Some employees, a previous TIME investigation revealed, were paid $1.50 an hour and Motaung was paid $2.20 an hour.Motaung says that the company flew workers to Kenya from other parts of Africa, focusing on Africans from disadvantaged backgrounds. The job postings, he says, did not say they would be content moderators or be subjected to the disturbing content that caused him and his colleagues to suffer trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The suit alleges this amounts to human trafficking.Sama fired Motaung in 2019 after he led 100 workers off of the job. In his dismissal letter, they said it was because he put their relationship with Facebook at risk, but Sama told TIME that they fired Motaung because he was “bullying” and “coercing” his colleagues.The alleged constitutional violations include freedom of association, freedom of expression, dignity, fair remuneration and reasonable working conditions. The suit is asking for compensation to be determined by the court and awarded to all content moderators at Sama. In addition, it demands that content moderators receive the same psychological care as Facebook employees, and raise all outsourced content moderators’ pay.In addition, the suit asks that the Kenyan government strip Sama of its export license that gives it a tax break, undergo an outside human rights audit and issue monthly reports on how it is implementing the demands the auditor makes.Meta has responded by asking that its name be removed from the lawsuit. It says that Motaung was never an employee of the company and therefore it cannot be held liable for the conditions he experienced.However, Motuang’s lawyers plan to argue that Sama is an “agent” of Meta, and that Sama employees use Facebook’s internal systems, work closely with its staff and follow a work schedule set by Meta.Motuang says he took the job at Sama in an attempt to pull his family out of poverty. Now, thanks to crippling PTSD and anxiety when he is in public places due to the kidnapping and murders he had to watch, he finds himself unable to work. “It has interfered with my attempts to progress in life,” he told TIME.*Meta is banned in Russia over extremist activities.

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23:53 GMT 27.05.2022 (Updated: 00:06 GMT 28.05.2022)

Ian DeMartino

A February report by TIME exposed the working conditions of Meta’s* outsourced content moderation as a digital “Sweatshop.”

A lawsuit has been filed in Nairobi, Kenya, accusing Meta and an outsourcing company called Sama of violating labor laws and the Kenyan constitution.

Filed on May 10, the suit filed by Daniel Motaung accuses the two companies of union busting, wage theft, racial discrimination, psychological torture, unequal pay for equal work, and human trafficking, among other accusations.

Sama provides content moderation for Facebook in Africa. According to the suit, the company treated employees poorly, misled them with inaccurate or vague job postings and then subjected them to disturbing content.

Content moderators were subjected to content that included beheadings, the sexual abuse of children, kidnapping, and murder. Some employees, a previous TIME investigation revealed, were paid $1.50 an hour and Motaung was paid $2.20 an hour.

Motaung says that the company flew workers to Kenya from other parts of Africa, focusing on Africans from disadvantaged backgrounds. The job postings, he says, did not say they would be content moderators or be subjected to the disturbing content that caused him and his colleagues to suffer trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The suit alleges this amounts to human trafficking.

Sama fired Motaung in 2019 after he led 100 workers off of the job. In his dismissal letter, they said it was because he put their relationship with Facebook at risk, but Sama told TIME that they fired Motaung because he was “bullying” and “coercing” his colleagues.

The alleged constitutional violations include freedom of association, freedom of expression, dignity, fair remuneration and reasonable working conditions. The suit is asking for compensation to be determined by the court and awarded to all content moderators at Sama. In addition, it demands that content moderators receive the same psychological care as Facebook employees, and raise all outsourced content moderators’ pay.

In addition, the suit asks that the Kenyan government strip Sama of its export license that gives it a tax break, undergo an outside human rights audit and issue monthly reports on how it is implementing the demands the auditor makes.

Meta has responded by asking that its name be removed from the lawsuit. It says that Motaung was never an employee of the company and therefore it cannot be held liable for the conditions he experienced.

However, Motuang’s lawyers plan to argue that Sama is an “agent” of Meta, and that Sama employees use Facebook’s internal systems, work closely with its staff and follow a work schedule set by Meta.

Motuang says he took the job at Sama in an attempt to pull his family out of poverty. Now, thanks to crippling PTSD and anxiety when he is in public places due to the kidnapping and murders he had to watch, he finds himself unable to work. “It has interfered with my attempts to progress in life,” he told TIME.

*Meta is banned in Russia over extremist activities.

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