SUED FACEBOOK

Ex-moderator seeks to have protected witnesses testify

Motaung wants an order allowing his intended witnesses to give oral testimony if it will be required through image and voice distortion

In Summary

•He wants the court to lift the confidentiality veil so that any former moderator who is willing to participate in the petition, does so freely.

•The former content moderator who resigned in January says unless orders sought are granted there is an imminent risk of the court acting without jurisdiction.

A smartphone with Facebook's logo is seen in front of displayed Facebook's new rebrand logo Meta in this illustration taken October 28, 2021.
A smartphone with Facebook's logo is seen in front of displayed Facebook's new rebrand logo Meta in this illustration taken October 28, 2021.
Image: REUTERS

A South African man who sued Facebook over a toxic work environment wants the court to quash non-disclosure agreements signed by moderators engaged by a Kenyan company on its behalf.

Daniel Motaung wants the agreement signed between them as Samasource Kenya declared null and void.

This will to an extent prevent the moderators from giving evidence in court or participating in the petition.

In his argument, Motaung said all the non-disclosure deeds signed by any former Facebook content moderators engaged through Samasource Kenya are illegal.

“The court should expunge any information that may identify his intended witnesses from the court's public record and allow his intended witnesses to use pseudonyms in pleadings and testifying,” he said.

Motaung wants the court to issue an order allowing his intended witnesses to give oral testimony if it will be required through image and voice distortion or alteration devices.

He wants the court to lift the confidentiality veil so that any former moderator who is willing to participate in the petition, does so freely.

“Court is pleased to issue an order barring the respondents either by themselves, employees, agents, servants, assigns, successors or anyone acting under their authority from taking any adverse action against the Petitioner, any litigants, witnesses and experts witnesses in this Petition,” he said.

The former content moderator who resigned in January says unless orders sought are granted there is an imminent risk of the court acting without jurisdiction.

According to the court's documents, the lives and safety of current and former Facebook content moderators will be endangered if their identities are made public.

Some of the witnesses are currently engaged through Samasource.

“The identity of any intended witnesses must be kept private for the petitioner to properly present his case and protection of the identities of the intended witnesses will maximise and improve the quality of the intended witnesses’ evidence as they will be free to provide all relevant evidence without fear of retaliation,” Matuong said.

He said there is sufficient evidence of retaliation and adverse action being taken by Samasource, Meta Platforms Inc and Meta Platforms Ireland ltd against whistle-blowers and without court protection, the intended witnesses will suffer the same.

 

Edited by Kiilu Damaris

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