Kenyan court rules Meta as primary employer in content moderators’ lawsuit

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A Kenyan court has handed down a ruling stating that Meta, the parent company of Facebook, is the primary employer of content moderators who have filed a lawsuit against the social media giant and its content review partner in Africa, Sama. The 184 moderators, who lodged the suit in March of this year, also alleged that Meta’s new content review partner on the continent, Majorel, had blacklisted them on Meta’s instruction.

Justice Byram Ongaya of Kenya’s employment and labor relations court delivered a blow to Meta’s attempt to distance itself from the case. The court emphasized that the moderators performed work for Meta, used its technology, and adhered to its performance and accuracy standards. Sama disputed this characterization, claiming that Meta was its client and that Sama was not authorized to act on Meta’s behalf.

Meta has not yet responded to the ruling or made a comment on the matter.

The court’s decision undermines Meta’s argument that it is not the direct employer of the content moderators. It stated that the responsibility to provide the digital workspace for content moderation lies with Meta and Sama, while Sama serves as an agent or manager. The court clarified that there is no arrangement to absolve Meta from being the primary employer of the moderators.

Furthermore, the court ordered that the moderators’ contracts be extended and prohibited Meta and Sama from laying off the moderators until the case is resolved. The court found no valid justification for the redundancies and determined that content moderation jobs are available. Therefore, the moderators will continue working under prevailing or better terms in the interim.

The content moderators, recruited from various African countries including Ethiopia, Uganda, Somalia, and South Africa, are responsible for reviewing social media posts on Meta’s platforms to remove content that promotes hate, misinformation, and violence.

The moderators allege that Sama unlawfully terminated their employment without providing proper redundancy notices as required by Kenyan law. The lawsuit also claims other issues, such as the lack of a 30-day termination notice and the linking of their terminal dues to signing non-disclosure agreements.

Sama previously stated that it complied with Kenyan law and communicated the decision to discontinue content moderation through town hall meetings, email, and notification letters.

Meta and Sama are currently facing two other lawsuits in Kenya. One suit alleges labor and human trafficking, unfair labor relations, and failure to provide adequate mental health and psychosocial support. The other suit, filed by Ethiopians, accuses Meta of not implementing sufficient safety measures on Facebook, leading to conflicts and deaths during the Tigray War.

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Kenyan court rules Meta as primary employer in content moderators’ lawsuit

A Kenyan court has handed down a ruling stating that Meta, the parent company of Facebook, is the primary employer of content moderators who have filed a lawsuit against the social media giant and its content review partner in Africa, Sama. The 184 moderators, who lodged the suit in March of this year, also alleged that Meta’s new content review partner on the continent, Majorel, had blacklisted them on Meta’s instruction.

Justice Byram Ongaya of Kenya’s employment and labor relations court delivered a blow to Meta’s attempt to distance itself from the case. The court emphasized that the moderators performed work for Meta, used its technology, and adhered to its performance and accuracy standards. Sama disputed this characterization, claiming that Meta was its client and that Sama was not authorized to act on Meta’s behalf.

Meta has not yet responded to the ruling or made a comment on the matter.

The court’s decision undermines Meta’s argument that it is not the direct employer of the content moderators. It stated that the responsibility to provide the digital workspace for content moderation lies with Meta and Sama, while Sama serves as an agent or manager. The court clarified that there is no arrangement to absolve Meta from being the primary employer of the moderators.

Furthermore, the court ordered that the moderators’ contracts be extended and prohibited Meta and Sama from laying off the moderators until the case is resolved. The court found no valid justification for the redundancies and determined that content moderation jobs are available. Therefore, the moderators will continue working under prevailing or better terms in the interim.

The content moderators, recruited from various African countries including Ethiopia, Uganda, Somalia, and South Africa, are responsible for reviewing social media posts on Meta’s platforms to remove content that promotes hate, misinformation, and violence.

The moderators allege that Sama unlawfully terminated their employment without providing proper redundancy notices as required by Kenyan law. The lawsuit also claims other issues, such as the lack of a 30-day termination notice and the linking of their terminal dues to signing non-disclosure agreements.

Sama previously stated that it complied with Kenyan law and communicated the decision to discontinue content moderation through town hall meetings, email, and notification letters.

Meta and Sama are currently facing two other lawsuits in Kenya. One suit alleges labor and human trafficking, unfair labor relations, and failure to provide adequate mental health and psychosocial support. The other suit, filed by Ethiopians, accuses Meta of not implementing sufficient safety measures on Facebook, leading to conflicts and deaths during the Tigray War.

Disclaimer

We strive to uphold the highest ethical standards in all of our reporting and coverage. We StartupNews.fyi want to be transparent with our readers about any potential conflicts of interest that may arise in our work. It’s possible that some of the investors we feature may have connections to other businesses, including competitors or companies we write about. However, we want to assure our readers that this will not have any impact on the integrity or impartiality of our reporting. We are committed to delivering accurate, unbiased news and information to our audience, and we will continue to uphold our ethics and principles in all of our work. Thank you for your trust and support.

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