Every day in locations scattered around the world, workers who have been paid as little as $1.50 an hour after tax clear your social feeds of horrific content like beheadings and child sexual exploitation. Meta outsources many of these jobs to third-party contractors, thus holding itself at arm’s length from the deadly mental-health consequences of human beings looking at an endless stream of extreme content from its platforms Facebook and Instagram.
In 2019, when Daniel Motaung led more than 100 of his co-workers at one of these companies, Sama, in Nairobi, to attempt to organize and demand better pay and working conditions, including mental-health support for workers exposed to PTSD-inducing content, he was fired. This February, Motaung came forward to blow the whistle about the horrific circumstances in content-moderation factories. He is suing Meta and Sama for violations including forced labor, human trafficking, and union busting. He puts a face on the otherwise invisible human cost of moderating social media.
Haugen, a former Facebook product manager, is a whistle-blower who last year leaked thousands of pages of internal documents to Congress and the SEC
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