Meta is facing a content moderation crisis in sub-Saharan Africa after its main review partners were restrained from offering moderation services to the social media giant. The Kenyan court issued interim injunctions that barred Meta from engaging its new moderation partner, Majorel, and reserved that role for Sama, the outgoing subcontractor.
However, Sama sent all its content moderators on paid leave beginning April 1st, leaving a vacuum. This comes after the court blocked Sama from laying off over 200 moderators at its hub in Kenya after the company wound down its content moderation arm to concentrate on labeling work. Some moderators had filed an emergency petition in mid-March, claiming illegal firing by the company and blacklisting by Meta and Majorel, leading to the orders that were upheld Thursday.
It is currently unclear who is reviewing Meta’s platforms in sub-Saharan Africa. Moderators sift through social media posts on Meta’s platforms to remove content that perpetrates and perpetuates hate, misinformation, and violence. The court had directed Sama to serve as Meta’s sole content review provider until the case was heard and barred the social media giant from engaging any other party, including Majorel, Sama’s replacement, to serve sub-Saharan Africa.
The court further restrained Meta from engaging any content moderators to serve the Eastern and Southern African region through Majorel or through any other agent, partner, or representative, or in any manner whatsoever, engaging moderators to do the work currently being done by the moderators engaged through Sama pending the hearing of this application.
Meta has faced scrutiny in Africa in recent years over its handling of hate speech and political manipulation on its platforms. This crisis highlights the challenges the company faces in outsourcing moderation services in the region, with legal and labor issues potentially disrupting the process.