April 21, 2024

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Meta denies African content-moderator firm exit poses risk

Following the contractor’s announcement that it would discontinue offering content-review services to social media platforms, Sama, which runs Facebook’s primary moderation hub for east Africa, has refuted claims that harmful messages will go unreviewed.

Meta claimed that it was “Sama’s decision,” and Sama cited the “economic climate” as the cause.

In May, a former moderator who alleges the employment damaged his mental health filed a lawsuit against both businesses.

Daniel Motaung claims that the posts he looked at included beheadings and child abuse.

Mr. Motaung claims he was paid roughly $2.20 (£1.80) per hour for his job and that he has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In order to concentrate on its computer-vision work, Sama said it would “let go” of roughly 3% of its workers, primarily from the Nairobi office, where they remove posts that are identified for review if they violate the platform’s guidelines.

It said that they would receive well-being support for a period of 12 months following their last day of employment.

As part of the shift, Meta promised to “work with our partners to ensure there is no impact on our ability to assess content.”

Campaigning group Foxglove, which is supporting Mr. Motaung and is also involved in a separate case brought in Kenya against Meta over its handling of material relating to ethnic violence in Ethiopia, suggested the platform may already have reached an agreement with another company to provide outsourced moderation.

It pleaded with Meta to stop utilising “cheap” outsourced moderation that “chews through workers.”

According to Mercy Mutemi, the legal team representing Mr. Motaung is “actively interacting” with employees impacted by Sama’s decision to discontinue content moderation duties and assisting them in evaluating their legal options.

According to the company, all employees received competitive pay, benefits, opportunities for advancement, and access to a strong mental-health and wellness program.

Meta declined to comment directly on the legal action but has stated that partners must “offer industry-leading wages, benefits, and support.”

A judge is anticipated to make a decision on whether the Kenyan court is the proper venue to hear Mr. Motaung’s complaint on February 6.