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Facebook Sued by Former Content Moderator Over Forced Unsafe Job Conditions in Kenya

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Facebook Sued by Former Content Moderator Over Forced Unsafe Job Conditions in Kenya

A man who says he is “destroyed” after working as a content moderator for Facebook has filed a lawsuit accusing the company of human trafficking Africans to work in an exploitative and unsafe facility in Kenya.

The case against Meta Platforms, the Menlo Park, Calif. company that owns Facebook, and Sama, a San Francisco subcontractor, was lodged Tuesday with a court in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

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Daniel Motaung’s petition “calls upon Kenya’s courts to order Facebook and its outsourcing companies to end exploitation in its Nairobi moderation hub, where content moderators work in dangerous conditions,” said a statement by Foxglove, a London-based legal nonprofit that supports Facebook content moderators.

The first video Motaung watched as a Facebook moderator was a video of someone being beheaded, he told reporters during a call Tuesday. He stayed on the job for roughly six months, after relocating from South Africa to Nairobi in 2019 for the work. Motaung says he was dismissed after trying to spearhead efforts to unionise at the facility.

Motaung said his job was traumatising and he now has a fear of death.

“I had potential,” Motaung said. “When I went to Kenya, I went to Kenya because I wanted to change my life. I wanted to change the life of my family. I came out a different person, a person who has been destroyed.”

Motaung says in his filing that once he arrived in Kenya for that work, he was told to sign a non-disclosure agreement and his pay was less than promised, with one monthly paycheck that was KES 40,000, or roughly $350 (roughly Rs. 27,000).

The lawsuit notes that Sama targets people from poor families across Kenya, South Africa, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda and other countries in the region with “misleading job ads” that fail to disclose that they will be working as Facebook content moderators or viewing disturbing content that expose them to mental health woes.

Applicants are recruited “through deceit,” said Mercy Mutemi, who filed the petition in court Tuesday morning. “We found a lot of Africans were forced into force labour situations and human trafficking. When you leave your country for a job that you didn’t apply for, that amounts to human trafficking.”

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Content moderators are not given enough medical coverage to seek mental health treatment, the filing alleges.

The lawsuit also seeks orders for Facebook and Sama to respect moderators’ right to unionise.

Meta’s office in Nairobi said it takes seriously its responsibility to people who review content for the company and requires its “partners to provide industry-leading pay, benefits and support,” according to a statement issued by the company’s spokeswoman.

”We also encourage content reviewers to raise issues when they become aware of them and regularly conduct independent audits to ensure our partners are meeting the high standards we expect of them,” the statement said.

In 2020, Facebook agreed to pay $52 million (roughly Rs. 401 crore) to US content moderators who filed a class action lawsuit after they were repeatedly exposed to beheadings, child and sexual abuse, animal cruelty, terrorism and other disturbing content.

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Sama, which describes itself as an ethical AI company, did not immediately provide comment.

Sama’s Nairobi location is the largest content moderation facility in Africa, with approximately 240 employees working on the effort, according to the filing.

“We are not animals,” Motaung said in the statement. “We are people — and we deserve to be treated as such.”


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Meta Begins Testing Super Live Streaming Platform With Creators: Report

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Meta, the company that owns Facebook and Instagram, has been secretly testing Super, a live-streaming platform modelled after Twitch, according to a Business Insider report. According to a report, Meta had reached out to influencers to test the platform, along with a complete deck of slides used to pitch the service to creators. Super has only been used by a hundred creators so far, allows users to sign in with their Google account, and currently supports streaming to viral video platform TikTok Live.

A Meta representative said in a statement given to Business Insider that Super is a totally distinct product and not a part of its other platforms, like Facebook or Instagram.

Super’s website is currently accessible to all users, and the website’s footer states that the service is provided by “NPE Team from Meta.” The developer team at Meta known as NPE works on the release of new applications. There don’t seem to be any additional references to Meta on Super’s website.

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Super has been discussed in news reports before. The product appears to be different, in comparison to the one described in a Bloomberg report in 2020. Super was promoted at the time as a “Cameo-inspired tool” that would enable Facetime-style calling between famous people and their fans.

Some features, like the ability to take selfies with creators, do appear to have been carried over. The platform appears to have changed course to become more of a Twitch rival for live streaming, though.

According to the pitch deck, Super will give creators a similar opportunity to monetize their streams as Twitch does. Viewers can donate to their favourite creator and purchase additional content through tiered subscriptions.

For the time being, creators will keep all of their earnings. The pitch deck also features a sponsorship programme where companies can pay to have their marketing materials heavily integrated into a creator’s Super stream.

Creators wouldn’t need a lot of technical or graphic design expertise to set up a well-designed livestream because Super appears to have integrated specific video layouts directly into its product. Additionally, there are pre-built features like trivia and giveaway modules that enable creators to quickly incorporate those activities into a stream.

Some influencers have received payments of up to $3,000 (roughly Rs. 2,40,000) to test out Super for 30 minutes, according to the report. According to another source who spoke with the outlet, there were also “paid incentives based on the performance of the live stream.”

It’s interesting to note that Super and Meta’s other products, like Instagram and Facebook, don’t appear to be integrated. On Super’s website, users only have the choice to sign in with Google after clicking Login. At the moment, TikTok is the only other platform mentioned in the website’s FAQ. In the section where Super explains how to simulcast your stream to TikTok Live, the viral video platform is mentioned, according to the website’s FAQ.

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Super is currently in early testing, according to Meta, and it is currently unknown when it will be made available to the general public is unknown. Currently, creators can register with an email address and request early access to the platform.


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Elon Musk Challenges Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal to Public Debate Over Bot Users, Says Deal Cold Move Ahead

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Elon Musk said Saturday that his planned $44 billion (roughly Rs. 3.5 lakh crore) takeover of Twitter should move forward if the company can confirm some details about how it measures whether user accounts are ‘spam bots’ or real people.

The billionaire and Tesla CEO has been trying to back out of his April agreement to buy the social media company, leading Twitter to sue him last month to complete the acquisition. Musk countersued, accusing Twitter of misleading his team about the true size of its user base and other problems he said amounted to fraud and breach of contract.

Both sides are headed toward an October trial in a Delaware court.

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“If Twitter simply provides their method of sampling 100 accounts and how they’re confirmed to be real, the deal should proceed on original terms,” Musk tweeted early Saturday. “However, if it turns out that their SEC filings are materially false, then it should not.”

Musk, who has more than 100 million Twitter followers, went on to challenge Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal to a “public debate about the Twitter bot percentage.”

The company has repeatedly disclosed to the Securities and Exchange Commission an estimate that fewer than 5 percent of user accounts are fake or spam, with a disclaimer that it could be higher. Musk waived his right to further due diligence when he signed the April merger agreement.

Twitter has argued in court that Musk is deliberately trying to tank the deal and using the bot question as an excuse because market conditions have deteriorated and the acquisition no longer serves his interests. In a court filing Thursday, it describes his counterclaims as an imagined story “contradicted by the evidence and common sense.”

“Musk invents representations Twitter never made and then tries to wield, selectively, the extensive confidential data Twitter provided him to conjure a breach of those purported representations,” company attorneys wrote.

While Musk has tried to keep the focus on bot disclosures, Twitter’s legal team has been digging for information about a host of tech investors and entrepreneurs connected to Musk in a wide-ranging subpoena that could net some of their private communications with the Tesla CEO.


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Instagram Will Soon Test Tall Photos for Compatibility With Fullscreen Reels

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Photo and video sharing platform Instagram might have halted its controversial redesign, but that doesn’t mean the company plans to stop focusing on full-screen content. During the weekly Ask Me Anything, CEO Adam Mosseri confirmed that Instagram will begin testing ultra-tall 9:16 photos “in a week or two.” “You can have tall videos, but you cannot have tall photos on Instagram. So, we thought maybe we should make sure that we treat both equally,” Mosseri said.

Currently, Instagram tops out around 4:5 when displaying vertical images that have been cropped accordingly. But introducing support for slimmer, taller 9:16 photos will help them fill the entire screen as you scroll through the app’s feed. CEO Adam Mosseri confirmed that Instagram will be testing this feature during the weekly Ask Me Anything.

Recently, Instagram pulled its TikTok-like redesign. Several photographers criticised Instagram’s TikTok-like redesign for the way it forces all photos to awkwardly display in a 9:16 frame. The new feed also added overlay gradients to the bottom of posts so that text would be easier to read. But that clashed with the original appearance of photographers’ work.

During the course of Instagram’s shaky redesign test with users, Mosseri admitted more than once that the full-screen experience was less than ideal for photos. Now Instagram very much still intends to showcase that ultra-tall photo experience, but without mandating it across the board.


What should you make of Realme’s three new offerings? We discuss them on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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