Ex-Facebook content moderator sues Meta over lack of mental health support A former content moderator at Facebook has filed a lawsuit against Meta and its contractor Sama. The ex-employee, Daniel Motaung, has accused the company of human trafficking and of failing to provide adequate mental health support.
The allegations are that he was paid approximately $2.20 per hour to review Facebook posts, and these included videos and images of child abuse and beheadings.
Sama called the accusations “disappointing and inaccurate”. However, the former worker, who brought the case forward in Nairobi, claims that the job adverts didn’t warn moderators about the types of extreme content they would be exposed to.
How does Facebook moderate content?
Facebook hires content moderators to check any content that’s been flagged by users or AI systems. The moderators then check the content to see if it goes against the platform’s community standards, and it is removed if necessary.
Mr. Motaung said that he was regularly exposed to extreme content. For example, he said that the first video he saw was “a live video of someone being beheaded”.
He says that he has since been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and that other employees have struggled from viewing extreme content with no support.
Will the employees receive compensation?
The lawsuit claims that the job adverts were misleading and designed to trick applicants into applying for content moderator jobs, as there was no warning about the nature of the job.
Additionally, it claims that Sama brought workers, who were often disadvantaged, in from Kenya and other parts of Africa, which amounted to human trafficking.
Both Meta and Sama have also been accused of failing to provide psychological support, but the company has denied this and says it provides a robust mental health program.
In 2018, a similar case was filed against Facebook by 11,250 content moderators who said they had developed mental health conditions due to their job.
Facebook agreed to settle the claim and paid the claimants $52 million, plus additional compensation if they had been diagnosed with PTSD or another stress-related condition.
This latest case seeks financial compensation as well, for both current and former content moderators at Sama. It also seeks an order that outsourced moderators get the same pay and healthcare as Meta employees and that employees get the right to form a union.