Kenya: Former META employee shares pre-trial experience

Trevin Brownie hasn’t forgotten his first day as a content moderator for Facebook, on the campus of an outsourcing company based in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. Hundreds of animators from different African countries have worked in this continent’s heartland, recruited by knowledge of the local language.

“My first video was of a man committing suicide, There was a two or three year old child playing nearby. After the man hanged himself, about two minutes later, he got figured out that something was wrong,” 30- said. South Africa, before describing how the child tries to save the man, his father. “It makes me sick, It’s like nausea and vomiting. But I keep doing my job,” he continued.

From 2020 to 2023, he watches hundreds of violent, hateful videos every day and blocks them from Facebook users. He has worked in Nairobi for Sama, the California-based company Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, has outsourced Facebook content moderation to sub-Saharan Africa since 2019. to 2023.

Trevin Brownie said he has seen “hundreds of beheadings”, “organs ripped out of bodies”, “rape and child pornography to the last degree”, “child soldiers being prepare for war”…
“Humans are doing things that I never imagined with other people,” he said. “People have no idea what sick they are escaping from.” Legal battle
Trevin Brownie is involved in one of three lawsuits against Meta and Sama, formerly known as Source Sama, in Kenya.

With 183 former employees, he is protesting the firing of Sama, the company has announced that it will stop content moderation practices. They claim wages that are “insufficient and disproportionate (…) for the risk they take”, as well as “damage caused to their mental health”.

This legal assault began when another former Sama content moderator, Daniel Motaung, filed a complaint in May 2022 before a Nairobi court, complaining of “inhumane” working conditions. deceptive recruitment methods, insufficient and lack of psychological support.

Meta, who does not wish to comment on the details of the incident, assures that they need psychological support from subcontractors, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When contacted, Sama said he was “in no position” to comment on current cases.

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