META has been accused of human trafficking by a former Facebook employee, according to a new lawsuit.
Daniel Motaung filed a lawsuit against Facebook’s parent company Meta in Kenya on Tuesday.
The plaintiff, a former Facebook content moderator, is suing the tech giant over human trafficking, forced labor and union busting, according to an insider report.
San Francisco-based outsourcing firm Sama – which has been hired by Facebook to moderate content – is also being sued.
The Kenya Labor and Industrial Relations Court filed the petition, which details the former employee’s role at Facebook and the hiring process.
Motaung claims Sama didn’t tell him he worked for Facebook or that his responsibilities included monitoring graphic and disturbing content.
In turn, the job left him – and many of his colleagues – with severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Motaung told TIME.
He added that the work culture encouraged psychological trauma, intimidation and suppression of the right to organize.
In the lawsuit, Motaung also noted that the job ads “were designed to trick unsuspecting applicants into unknowingly becoming moderators of Facebook content.”
According to the lawsuit, this amounts to human trafficking under Kenyan law.
A TIME investigation conducted earlier this year found that employees like Motaung take home just $1.50 an hour.
“Despite their importance to Facebook, the workers in this Nairobi office are among the lowest paid workers for the platform in the world,” the report said.
In response to the poor pay and working conditions, Motaung attempted to unionize with his colleagues but was fired by Sama in 2019.
Sama said in Motaung’s dismissal letter that his actions put her relationship with Facebook “at great risk.”
“Mark Zuckerberg and his cronies at companies like Sama cannot be allowed to treat people like this,” Motaung said.
“That’s why I’m doing this. We’re not animals. We are human – and we deserve to be treated as such.”
Since being fired by Sama, Motaung said he has been unable to find work due to the mental health effects of his last role.
Therefore, while the lawsuit seeks monetary compensation for Motaung, it also demands that Meta and Sama implement psychological support for moderators and pay them reasonable wages.
“We cannot have safe social media when the workers protecting us are toiling in a digital sweatshop – we hope this case will make ripples across the continent and the world,” said Cori Crider, director of NGO Foxglove, the Motaung represents next to the Kenyan law firm Nzili and Sumbi Advocates.
“We also hope Daniel’s case sends a clear message to Facebook: the days of you getting away with treating your content moderators as disposable and scaring them are over,” Crider added.
“Any reform we win here, Facebook can afford to roll it out everywhere – and we will push for that to happen. It is high time for Facebook to treat these people with dignity and respect.”
The Sun has reached out to Meta for comment but has not yet received a response.
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https://www.the-sun.com/tech/5333767/mark-zuckerberg-meta-human-trafficking-facebook/ Mark Zuckerberg is accused of allowing human trafficking on Facebook by a former employee