Meta faces third trial in Kenya as moderators claim unlawful dismissal and blacklisting
Social media giant Meta and its Kenya-based content moderation partners Sama and Majorel are facing a new lawsuit in Kenya. In a petition filed today, 43 content moderators allege “unlawful termination” by Sama, whose contract with Meta ends this month after its content review arm shut down in January. They also take issue with the alleged discrimination of Meta’s new content moderation partner, Majorel, who they claim blacklisted all former Sama employees.
In a petition filed in the Labor and Labor Relations Court, the moderators claim that Sama fired them unlawfully, saying no notice of dismissal was issued. The lawsuit also alleges, among other issues, that the moderators were not given 30 days’ notice of termination as required by Kenyan law, and that their terminal fees depended on them signing nondisclosure documents.
Other allegations include that Meta asked its new Luxembourg-based partner, Majorel, to blacklist content moderators who previously worked at Sama. He said moderators applying for jobs at Majorel were “turned down on the basis that they previously worked at 3rd Defendant’s (Sama) establishment”.
Court documents seen by TechCrunch claim that some of the 260 affected Sama content moderators were from countries in Africa and will have to leave Kenya if they cannot find employment after March 31, when their contracts with Sama will expire. END.
“This is an anti-union operation disguised as collective dismissal. You can’t just switch suppliers and tell recruiters not to hire your workers because they are ‘troublemakers’, i.e. because they have the temerity to defend themselves,” a said Cori Crider, director of Foxglove, a nonprofit specializing in tech justice. who supports the case.
Sama, whose long list of clients includes OpenAI, ditched Meta’s contract and content review services to focus on labeling work (computer vision data annotation), following the heat of a trial in 2022 in Kenya by his former content moderator, Daniel Motaung.
Motuang, a South African, had accused Sama and Meta of forced labor and human trafficking, unfair labor relations, union busting and failure to provide “adequate mental health and psychosocial support “. He was reportedly fired for organizing a strike in 2019 and trying to organize Sama employees.
The ongoing lawsuit is the third Meta faces in Kenya, after another case was filed in December by Ethiopians over allegations that the social media giant failed to use sufficient security measures on Facebook. , which, in turn, fueled the conflicts that led to the deaths, including that of their father, and 500,000 Ethiopians during the Tigray war that ended at the end of last year.
The lawsuit claims the social site amplified hateful content and failed to hire enough staff with knowledge of local languages to moderate the content.