Wabe didn’t expect to see his friends’ faces in the shadows. But it happened after just a few weeks on the job.

He had recently signed on with Sama, a San Francisco-based tech company with a major hub in Kenya’s capital. The middle-man company was providing the bulk of Facebook’s content moderation services for Africa. Wabe, whose name we’ve changed to protect his safety, had previously taught science courses to university students in his native Ethiopia.

Now, the 27-year-old was reviewing hundreds of Facebook photos and videos each day to decide if they violated the company’s rules on issues ranging from hate speech to child exploitation. He would get between 60 and 70 seconds to make a determination, sifting through hundreds of pieces of content over an eight-hour shift.

One day in January 2022, the system flagged a video for him to review. He opened up a Facebook livestream of a macabre scene from the civil war in his home country. What he saw next was dozens of Ethiopians being “slaughtered like sheep,” he said.

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