Daniel Motaung is a former content moderator and whistleblower who raised the alarm on the abusive working conditions at Facebook’s Kenyan outsourcing content moderation company, Sama.
He developed PTSD, anxiety and severe depression from the $2-per-hour job, which required watching hours of graphic content each day from across Sub-Saharan Africa including videos of beheadings and abuse. When he tried to mobilize over 100 of his colleagues to fight for better working conditions in 2019, he was fired.
TSN provided legal support to Motaung, which allowed him to safely share major public interest revelations with Time reporter Billy Perrigo, who subsequently published the front-cover February 2022 issue story, “Inside Facebook’s African Sweatshop” featuring Motaung and another whistleblower who received support from TSN. Motaung was later named in TIME100Next, a list that recognizes “emerging leaders from around the world who are shaping the future and defining the next generation of leadership.”
TSN continues to provide Motaung with ongoing psychological support and supports him as he advocates for reform in the content moderation industry. In June 2022, Motaung met with members of U.K. Parliament to push for changes to the industry. In February 2023, Motaung spoke at UNESCO’s global “Internet for Trust” Conference in Paris about his ideas for industry reform.
TSN’s partner Foxglove represents Motaung as the plaintiff in a lawsuit against Facebook’s parent company Meta and Sama, accusing the companies of human trafficking and union busting. A Kenyan court ruled in February 2023 that the lawsuit can proceed. Facebook has appealed.
On May 1, 2023, Motaung spoke at a mass summit with more than 150 content moderators working for Facebook, TikTok and ChatGPT who gathered to vote to unionize.