Rights groups call on Meta to stop efforts to silence Daniel Motaung, a South African content moderator and whistleblower who, along with Sama, his top content moderation subcontractor in Africa, is in Kenya over claims of union breakdown and exploitation .
In a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, the group of more than 80 organizations and individuals, including Frances Haugen, a whistleblower and former Meta executive, is demanding that the social media giant and Sama stop trying to get the Kenyan court to issue a gag order on Motaung.
Their efforts follow last month’s court hearing, where Meta asked the court to stop Motaung, a South African citizen, from talking to the media and saying publicly it could harm legal proceedings — a plea that the court rejected. However, the court allowed Meta’s lawyers to raise contempt for court proceedings if they had any evidence of it.
Previously, Meta had filed a request to drop the case, noting that moderators had signed a nondisclosure agreement, barring them from providing evidence.
“… your companies are aggressively trying to silence Daniel, as well as Foxglove, the legal NGO that supports him, with a gag order and disregard for legal proceedings. Your lawyers have even asked a judge to “lash with the whip” against Daniel, a front-line worker who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the work he did for you and for which he made only $2.20 an hour. It appears that Meta and Sama would rather silence Daniel than meaningfully address his allegations,” the letter, shared with londonbusinessblog.com, reads in part.
The rights groups further urged Sama and Meta to support the unionization of their content moderation staff.
“Your lawyers have even asked a judge to give ‘the whip’ against Daniel, a front-line worker who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the work he did for you and for which he was earning only $2.20 an hour. It appears that Meta and Sama would rather silence Daniel than respond meaningfully to his allegations,” the letter reads, which includes the Kenya Human Rights Commission, the All Africa Students Union, the Central Organization of Trade Unions in Kenya. , Uni Global Union, Global has signed. Witness, Irish Council of Civil Liberties.
According to court records, Motaung, who was fired for organizing a strike in 2019 and trying to unite the subcontractor’s employees, said his job exposed him to graphic content, which had a lasting effect on his mental health. Case files show that Sama conducted a “misleading recruitment process” by opening job postings that failed to mention the nature of the job successful applicants would do at the Nairobi hub.
The moderators, who hail from a number of countries including Ethiopia, Uganda and Somalia, are scouring social media posts across all of its platforms, including Facebook, to remove and perpetuate those who perpetrate and perpetuate hatred, misinformation and violence.
Motuang seeks financial compensation for himself and other former and existing moderators, and also wants Sama and Meta forced to stop disbanding unions and providing mental health support, among other things.