Click Captives. The Unseen Strugle of Data Workers

This comic explores the experiences of data workers in Kenya working for Sama and Cloud Factory, highlighting shared challenges like low wages, long hours, and shattered hopes. The side-by-side portrayal suggests these similarities might stem from widespread practices within the outsourcing industry.

By Wilington Shitawa

My name is Wilington Shitawa, and I am a former data annotator and quality analyst who has worked at both Cloud Factory and Sama in Nairobi, Kenya. In this eye-opening comic strip, I draw from my personal experiences and interviews with my colleagues Andrea, Derrick and Edwin who have also worked for both companies. The aim behind this comic is to expose the disturbingly similar working conditions and exploitation faced by data annotators at these two outsourcing companies.

The comic strip follows the journey of two young friends from the slums of Nairobi who, driven by their hopes and dreams, join these companies with the belief that they offer a path to a better future. In a country where opportunities for youth are limited, tech companies like Sama and Cloud Factory are often portrayed as the solution. However, as the story unfolds, the characters come to the painful realization that their dreams are unattainable due to the long working hours and meager salaries provided by these companies.

I chose to present this important message in the form of a comic strip because I believe it is an engaging and accessible medium to communicate these issues, particularly to young people who may be tempted by the promises of outsourcing companies. By using a format that resonates with my target audience, I hope to warn them about the harsh realities they are likely to face in this industry.

The comic strip highlights several key issues, including the low wages, long working hours, and the shattering of hopes and dreams experienced by data annotators at both Sama and Cloud Factory. The striking similarities in the experiences of workers at these two companies suggest a disturbing pattern of coordinated exploitation. Many workers endure immense hardship and even depression, silently hoping for the world to take notice of their plight and take action.

To address this exploitation, I demand fair compensation for the workers who have suffered under these unjust conditions. Moreover, I call for government regulation of these companies and consideration of shutting them down to put an end to the appalling practices which have plagued this industry.

Recommended citation:

Shitawa, W. (2024). Click Captives. The Unseen Struggle of Data Workers. In: M. Miceli, A. Dinika, L. Sachenbacher, C. Salim Wagner, and K. Kauffman (eds), The Data Workers‘ Inquiry. Creative Commons BY 4.0.

About the Author

Wilington Shitawa

Wilington Shitawa is a former data annotator and quality analyst who has worked at both Cloud Factory and Sama in Nairobi, Kenya. He is a big technology enthusiast, especially fascinated by AI’s potential in developing nations. Wilington has just been admitted as a student of Computer Networking Technology at Holland College in Canada. Driven by a desire to expose the exploitation of workers in the industry, he joined the Data Workers’ Inquiry project to create this powerful comic strip. By drawing from his own experiences and interviews with colleagues, Wilington aims to shed light on the harsh realities faced by data annotators and advocate for change in the industry.

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