Meta and Sama face legal action in Kenya over alleged poor working conditions – TechCrunch

Meta and Samaits main subcontractor for content moderation in Africa, face a lawsuit in Kenya for allegedly unsafe and unfair working conditions, if they do not respond to 12 demands on working conditions submitted to them.

Nzili and Sumbi Advocates, the law firm representing Daniel Motaung, a former Sama employee who was fired for organizing a strike in 2019 over poor working conditions and pay, in a letter of formal notice seen by TechCrunch , accused the contractor of violating various rights, including the health and privacy of Kenyan and international staff.

Motaung was reportedly fired for organizing the strike and attempting to organize Sama employees. The law firm has given Meta and Sama 21 days (starting Tuesday, March 29) to respond to the demands or face a lawsuit.

In the notice, the law firm asked Meta and Sama to abide by the country’s labor, privacy, and health laws, hire qualified and experienced medical professionals, and provide moderators with a adequate mental health insurance and better compensation.

“Facebook outsources most of this work to companies like Sama – a practice that keeps Facebook’s profit margins high but at the expense of the health of thousands of moderators – and the security of Facebook around the world. Sama moderators report ongoing violations, including conditions that are unsafe, degrading, and at risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),” Motuang’s attorneys said.

The impending trial follows a history of time which detailed how Sama recruited the moderators under the false pretense that they were taking call center jobs. The content moderators, hired across the continent, according to the story, only learned the nature of their job after signing their employment contracts and moving to its hub in Nairobi.

Moderators are sifting through social media posts across all of its platforms, including Facebook, to remove those that perpetuate and perpetuate hate, misinformation and violence.

Among the many requirements employees are expected to meet is not disclosing the nature of their work with strangers. Content moderators in Africa, according to the article, earn the lowest salaries in the world. Sama markets itself as an ethical AI company. The company recently raised employee salaries after the talk.

The law firm alleged that Sama failed to provide Motaung and his colleague with adequate psychosocial support and mental health measures, including “unscheduled breaks as needed, particularly after exposure to graphic content”. . Sama’s employee productivity was also tracked using Meta software – to measure screen time and employee movement during working hours. Sama gave them “thirty minutes a day with a wellness counselor.”

“Sama and Meta failed to prepare our client for the type of work he had to do and its effects. The first video he remembers being moderator was of a beheading. So far no support psychological counseling had been offered to him beforehand,” the law firm said.

Mercy Mutemi, who is leading the lawsuit, said: “I use Facebook, like many Kenyans, and it is an important place to discuss current affairs. But that’s why this case is so important.

“The very security and integrity of our democratic process in Kenya depends on a Facebook that is properly staffed and where content moderators, the frontline workers against hate and misinformation, have the support they need. need to protect us all. This is no ordinary labor case – the working conditions of Facebook moderators affect all Kenyans.

About Bradley J. Bridges

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