- Former Facebook operator Daniel Motaung filed a lawsuit against Meta in Kenya on Tuesday.
- In the lawsuit, Mehta and its contractors are charged with human trafficking and union destruction.
- Motaung said he applied without even knowing he would get a job at Facebook.
A man who worked as a Facebook mediator in Kenya is suing Meta, the platform’s parent company, for human trafficking, forced labor and union destruction.
Daniel Motaung, former Facebook owner Time Magazine February reportHired by Sama, a San Francisco technology outsourcing company that Facebook has contracted to perform content arbitration.
Motaung’s accusations against Meta and Sama were included in a petition filed with the Kenya Employment and Labor Court on Tuesday, shared with Insider.
Motaung, who moved from South Africa to Kenya’s capital Nairobi and worked in Sama, said in an affidavit attached to the petition that during the hiring process he had not been told he would be working for Facebook or anything that accompanies the job. View graphics and objectionable content.
Motaung said that as part of her work, she should watch images and videos of beheadings and child sexual abuse. Motaung’s petition states that he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Motaung’s lawsuit also found that job advertisements were “intended to trick unsuspecting applicants into becoming Facebook content moderators.”
The lawsuit says this amounts to human trafficking under Kenyan law.
In a statement provided to Insider by Foxglove, a London nonprofit that supports Motaung’s case, Motaung said, “When I first applied for an ad for this job, I was on a mission to graduate college and lift me and my family out of poverty. “
He added, “After six months, the health of my body and mind collapsed.”
Motaung said he was about to start an employee union as a result of the shocking content the moderators had to watch, and that he was fired for union activity.
“Mark Zuckerberg and his entourage at companies like Sama cannot tolerate treating people this way,” Motaung said. “That’s why I’m doing this. We’re not animals. We’re people. And we deserve to be treated that way.”
The lawsuit calls for Meta and Sama to implement mental health support for moderators and pay them the same salaries as full-time Facebook employees.
Time Reports cited pay stubs showing that Sama paid the mediator about $2.20 an hour.
Motaung’s lawsuit also seeks unspecified compensation for former and current content moderators in Kenya.
A spokesperson for Meta told Insider that the company would not comment on pending legal claims.
“We take responsibility for those who take Meta content seriously, and we require our partners to provide industry-leading salaries, benefits and support,” the spokesperson said.
“We also encourage content reviewers to raise concerns when they become aware of them and conduct regular independent audits to ensure that our partners meet the high standards we expect,” he added.
Sama did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. In a February report, Time magazine denied allegations of union destruction and exploitation.