Kenya: New Twist in the Case of Facebook Content Moderators

maryam lahbal
maryam lahbal
2 Min Read

The Kenyan justice has suspended the dismissals of nearly 200 content moderators who worked for an American company in Kenya. They were employed through a contractor, Sama, to handle content moderation in East and South Africa for Meta.

Sama having decided to stop this activity, announced in January the dismissal of 260 moderators for the end of March. 184 of them filed a complaint against Meta and Sama, denouncing an “unfair dismissal”. Pending a trial on the merits, the Nairobi Labor Court made several decisions on Friday, June 2nd.

The reading of the decision lasted more than two hours. For the complainants, this is a relief. The Court renewed the suspension of their dismissals pending a trial on the merits. Meta and Sama must therefore continue to pay them.

In its judgment, the Kenyan justice calls into question the arguments put forward to justify the dismissals, considering Meta as the main employer of the moderators. However, the Meta company, through its lawyers, has always maintained that no direct contract binds it to the plaintiffs. For his part, Sama says he has stopped moderating content and therefore has no more work for his employees.

However, Facebook’s parent company said it still needed them. Meta has even already planned a new contract with another subcontractor, Majorel. The dismissed moderators could therefore be reemployed if they so wish. The Kenyan justice has also ordered that they not be “discriminated against” in the recruitment process for the new contract, while the complainants claim to have been “blacklisted”.

Finally, another victory for content moderators: the court highlighted the impact of their work on their mental health. And ordered Meta and Sama to provide psychological care.

Meta has already announced that it wishes to appeal the verdict. The case is due back in court on June 8 for instructions on the rest of the legal process.

Maryam Lahbal

Share this Article
Leave a comment