A Kenyan court is currently hearing a lawsuit filed against Meta, the parent company of Facebook, over allegations of exploitation and poor working conditions by former employees.
Meta is seeking to have the case dismissed, arguing that the court lacks jurisdiction as it is not based in Kenya nor trades there.
In March, 43 content moderators who were working at Facebook’s moderation centre in Kenya announced that they had filed a lawsuit against Meta for unlawful dismissal.
Mercy Mutemi, the lawyer representing the former content moderators, stated after the court session in Nairobi on Wednesday: “What basically is the challenge of the case is how they were treated while being Facebook content moderators, and the manner in which Facebook and Sama tried to terminate their contracts. That’s what this case is about.”
The 43 moderators were part of a larger group of over 260 moderators who were fired in January by Sama, the outsourcing company that has been operating the office since 2019.
“One of our claims in the petition is that the moderators who were engaged through Sama have tried seeking alternative employment as Facebook moderators through Majorel (another outsourcing firm), and the response they are getting is that they are not engaging moderators who previously worked at Sama. So, the claim that they’re making in court is that that’s discriminatory, and everyone has a right to work, and they should have a right to apply and get equal opportunities for work,” Mutemi explained.
This is not the first time Facebook has faced controversy and lawsuits in Kenya. It should be recalled that in December 2022, Meta, the parent company of the social media platform, was accused of fueling online ethnic hatred and violence in Kenya and Ethiopia.
Meanwhile, a $1.6 billion fund has been called for to compensate victims while legal proceedings are ongoing.