Facebook content moderator company quits as it faces Meta lawsuit from whistleblower

Facebook’s largest content moderation partner in East Africa, Sama, is closing its moderation business nearly a year after TIME Magazine revealed poverty wages, traumatized employees and alleged union busting. The story was possible thanks to testimony from whistleblowers who received support from The Signals Network.

Sama will reportedly be replaced by Majorel, another outsourcing firm facing accusations of low pay and inadequate support for workers. While this is a clear example of the impact a whistleblower can have, another company that pays its workers even less than Sama is expected to take Sama’s place, according to TIME.

Whistleblower and ex-employee Daniel Motaung appeared on the front cover of TIME for the February 2022 story about his revelations, “Inside Facebook’s African Sweatshop.” He was later named in TIME100Next, a list of “emerging leaders from around the world who are shaping the future and defining the next generation of leadership.”

Now, Motaung is advocating for systemic regulation of social media’s content moderation supply chain to ensure all moderators at all companies are compensated fairly and treated with dignity. Read about the advocacy work Motaung has done in UK Parliament here.

Motaung is the plaintiff in a lawsuit against Sama and Facebook’s parent company Meta for their treatment of content moderators. He is represented in the lawsuit by TSN partner, Foxglove, a UK-based legal nonprofit. Kenya’s Employment and Labour Relations Court will make a ruling on Feb. 6 to decide whether Meta will continue to face charges in the country.

TSN is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded by journalists, lawyers, transparency activists and whistleblowers to support and protect those who witness wrongdoing and share public interest information with the press.

For journalist inquiries, email sarah@thesignalsnetwork.org.

Story by Sarah Gamard.

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