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What is a Facebook content moderator?

Content moderators are essential workers in the day-to-day running of Facebook. It is their job to review content submitted by Facebook’s 2.8bn global userbase to its newsfeeds. This content comes to moderators’ computers in queues, or tickets, similar to work assignments in a call centre. Content moderators must assess each piece of content flagged to them and use policies from Facebook to decide whether it is allowed to remain on the platform.


How many content moderators are there?

Facebook has not revealed the full number, but the New York Times reported in 2021 that the figure was around 15,000.


Are content moderators only based in the US?

No. There are moderators in the Philippines, India, Ireland, Poland, Germany, Kenya and many other countries.


Are content moderators employed by Facebook?

Some moderators are directly employed by Facebook, but the majority are outsourced to companies like Accenture, Covalen, Sama and others. Outsourced moderators generally receive worse pay, working conditions and mental health support than directly-employed colleagues.


Is the work dangerous?

Yes. Moderators must look routinely at extremely distressing content including hate speech, graphic violence, sexual abuse, murder, violence against animals and sexual exploitation of children. Observing this kind of content regularly takes an incredible toll on moderators’ mental health and can lead to depression, anxiety, paranoia and even PTSD. The policies used to sort content also change constantly, making the job even more difficult and stressful.


What mental health support is provided by Facebook?

Facebook says it is the responsibility of its outsourcing companies to provide mental health support. Moderators have complained for years that the mental health support they receive is at best inconsistent and often very poor. Outsourcing companies like Accenture provide staff known as “wellness coaches” but many do not have proper medical training to provide sufficient mental health support and moderators say there are far too few of them.


Is the danger of the work reflected in their pay packets?

No. The NYT reported in 2021 that for every hour a US-based content moderator works, Facebook pays Accenture $50. For that same hour, the moderator is paid $18. Meanwhile, in Kenya, Time magazine has revealed some moderators work for around $2 per hour.


Why haven’t I heard of content moderators before?

By design. Without content moderators, Facebook would be overwhelmed with horrific content and collapse overnight. But the work is backbreaking and dangerous which is why Facebook outsources it to other companies, so it can claim that the horrific conditions aren’t a part of their operation. On top of that, outsourcing companies force moderators to sign non-disclosure agreements as a condition of employment, gagging them from talking about their experiences. It’s only through the bravery of moderators breaking NDAs that their stories are beginning to be told.

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If you don't know by now, Kenya has a Data Protection law in place much like the famed European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) We also have a Data Protection Commissioner to whom you can lodge a complaint in case of a complaint involving your personal information. The Constitution of Kenya, 2010 has always had very stringent protections on the right to privacy The Data Protection Act gives effect to these constitutional protections.


We give away our personal information in very mundane ways in our day to day lives. For example, when you logged into your social media account today, updated your status, posted a photo or commented in one you were tagged, you gave a lot of personal information away on not only your behaviour but your partners as well. When you use applications on your phone or withdraw money from your nearest MPESA agent, you gave away your personal information. The same applies to that one time last week you need to enter a building in Westlands or Upperhill and not only gave out your ID card but also scanned your fingerprint or eye to gain access. The government also collects your personal information continually- you saw the amount of data you had to fill in just to get the first jab of the AstraZeneca vaccine. You probably had to borrow money from a digital lender and in the process gave them permission to reach out to your contact list in case you defaulted on payment. And other daily interactions where you bleed data to a data controller or processor.


Personal information, when processed can be very valuable to a third party. What doesn't change however is that this is data collected from a human being. No matter how valuable the data is, it should always be treated with respect and dignity as the data subject bears human rights that must be upheld.


To give effect to the Data Protection Act, the Office of the Data Commissioner has published draft regulations meant to guide data subjects when exercising their rights; and data controllers and processors whenever they process data.


There are three different draft regulations:

  1. Data Protection (General) Regulations, 2021

These regulations set out the procedures for enforcement of the rights of the data subjects and elaborate on the duties and obligations of Data Controllers and Data Processors.


2. Data Protection (Compliance and Enforcement) Regulations, 2021


These regulations outline the compliance and enforcement provisions for Data Commissioner, Data Controllers and Data Processors.


3. Data Protection (Registration of Data Controllers and Data Processors) Regulations, 2021


These regulations define the procedure that will be adopted by the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner in registering Data Controllers and Data Processors as per the Data Protection Act.


Do you have any views on how any of these draft regulations can be improved to better protect your personal information? Here is how you can be involved-


Write to the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner via dataprotectionregulations@odpc.go.ke


You can format your views in the form of a memorandum using the template attached

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Memorandum Template
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Updated: Sep 22, 2020

The Influencer's Guide to avoiding legal liability


Influencers have become a prominent part of online media platforms. They have not only mastered the art of selling themselves to us with their undeniable talent but also found innovative ways to sell their followers on certain products.


A popular trend amongst influencers is making money by posting sponsored content. Social media marketing has edged out traditional advertising. This has forced brands to reallocate a bulk of their advertising budget to social media marketing. Brands have the option to pay for 'sponsored posts' to reach a wider audience. Unfortunately, bare posts lack the personal touch needed to convert viewers to buyers. Influencers have unashamedly stepped in to fill this gap. Their efficacy so far has been jaw-dropping.


It is common for brands to get into arrangements with influencers to promote their products or services. Influencers are thereafter paid either in money or in free products and services. These arrangements fulfil all the elements of a valid contract leading to legal obligations.


Have influencers become this decade's advertisers? Isn't what they do tantamount to advertising? Should the laws that apply to traditional advertising also apply to influencers? These are some of the questions lawyers have started grappling with. The answer will differ from case to case depending on your behaviour as an influencer.


Forget the labels, there are some fundamental legal implications that attach owing to the nature of the relationship between an influencer and a partnering brand. For instance, if a brand insists on controlling the content of a post before publishing, pegs payment on campaign performance and the remittance of campaign reports, it is likely that the law will treat your posts as it would any other advertisement.


The line between authentic non-solicited product reviews and paid for reviews is especially blurry. Regulations are helpful in educating influencers on how to navigate the murky waters while protecting themselves. Kenya does not as yet have any such regulations. The UK however, has an extremely helpful guide on how to determine if your post is an ad, you can have a look here. These guidelines are based on the consumer protection and competition laws in the UK which are fundamentally similar to the laws in Kenya.


An influencer has a legal obligation to their followers who are protected under the Consumer Protection Act and the Competition Act. The most important obligation is that of honesty and transparency. Foremost, you must make it clear to your followers that a post is an advert whether you truly believe in a product or not. The most unequivocal way of communicating this is by tagging your posts as #ad, #advert or #advertisement. Tags such as #sponsored, #inpartnershipwith denote that the influencer has more control on the quality of the product, therefore misleading.


Overhyping a product may sound like a good idea but it is the quickest ticket to a law suit. As an influencer, you must never use hyperbole, innuendo or ambiguous language to describe a product. You must never lie to your followers on the quality of the products or its utility.


Another hairy area of conflict is promoting anti-competitive practices. A basic understanding of anti-competitive practices such as tying is necessary. Badmouthing competing brands should be out of the question. You must learn how to spot when potential partner brands demand that you engage in these practices. Since these are legal obligations, you can successfully renegotiate the influencer agreement without terminating the partnership.


It may also be useful for an influencer to familiarise themselves with rules on advertising controversial products such as betting, alcohol, tobacco and content relating to children.

Due diligence beforehand to ascertain that a brand is not fraudulent may go a long way in saving you from legal consequences.


Influencers must also pay attention to the legal obligations arising from the contract of engagement. They are bound to the terms of the contract and must be extremely keen to the terms before signing the contract. They may be sued by the brand should they deviate from the contract terms. If you're not comfortable with the terms, don't be afraid to negotiate them beforehand.


Remember, you're influential- post responsibly. .


#influencer #legalliability #sue #MSLaw #Kenya #competition #fair #contract #negotiation #consumerprotection #WixBlog

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