SOUTH AFRICAN SUES FACEBOOK OVER EXPOSURE TO HARMFUL IMAGES.

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South Africa National Daniel Motaung lawyer Mercy Mutemi (center), together with other lawyers outside Milimani Law Courts building./PHOTO BY S.A.N.

BY SAM ALFAN.

A South African who was engaged as content moderator for Facebook has sued Meta over violation of his rights and subjecting him to poor working conditions.

In a case filed before the High Court, Daniel Motaung accuses Meta and outsourcing company Samasource Kenya EPZ ltd of subjecting him and his former workmates to unreasonable working conditions including irregular pay, inadequate mental health support, and violation of their rights.

He said he worked in Kenya for six months and said he suffered serious psychological injuries arising from repeated exposure to extremely disturbing, graphic violent content coupled with toxic working environment.

“Content moderation at Facebook has been found to pose a risk to workers’ mental health. Because of their repeated exposure to gruesome content such as beheadings, torture, and rape, a significant number of Facebook moderators’ contract post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),” he says in an affidavit.

He wants the court to compel Samasource Kenya EPZ ltd, which trades as Sama and Facebook owners to pay him and his former colleagues for violating their constitutional rights.

He also wants the companies to cater for the cost of lifelong treatment for each current and former Facebook content moderator engaged through the Sama for any mental health problems that they may have developed as a result of the exposure.

“An order that the 1st Respondent accounts for and pays back all the unlawful deductions made from its employees’ salaries and that all current and former employees be provided with their pay-slips from the date of employment to the date of termination of employment or to date,” states court documents.

He wants the high court to issue an order that the respondents to jointly and severally implement at Samasource Kenya EPZ ltd centre in Nairobi a psychological and mental health support system identical to that in Meta Platforms, Inc and Meta Platforms Ireland ltd.

He also wants Samasource Kenya EPZ ltd in consultation with him and all current Facebook Content Moderators engaged through the Samasource recruit a team of at least three independent human rights and psychological consultants to be drawn from a list of independent experts approved by the Court to conduct an internal audit on the company’s content moderation centre in Nairobi.

The independent consultants, he said, will report to the court within thirty days of issuing of this judgement the measures the 1st Respondent must undertake to cease all violations of human rights and to transform the workplace from being a toxic working environment – including the setting of limits on exposure to gruesome and toxic content.

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