Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, is facing a new lawsuit in Kenya from 43 former content moderators who claim they were illegally sacked and blacklisted by the social media giant and its outsourcing partners.
The moderators worked for Sama, a Kenya-based company that provided content review services for Meta until January 2023, when it decided to shut down its content moderation arm and focus on data labeling work for other clients such as OpenAI.
The suit alleges that Sama dismissed the moderators without proper notice or redundancy pay, and forced them to sign non-disclosure agreements to receive their terminal dues. It also accuses Meta of instructing its new content moderation partner, Majorel, a Luxembourg-based company, to reject all applications from former Sama employees.
The moderators say they were discriminated against for trying to form a union to improve their working conditions and protect their rights. They claim they faced exposure to harmful and traumatic content on Meta’s platforms without adequate support or training.
The case is supported by Foxglove, a tech justice nonprofit that has been campaigning for better treatment of content moderators around the world. Cori Crider, a director of Foxglove, said: “This is a union-busting operation masquerading as a mass redundancy. You can’t just switch suppliers and tell recruiters not to hire your workers because they are ‘troublemakers’ – that is, because they have the temerity to stand up for themselves.”
The lawsuit is the third one filed against Meta in Kenya in recent months. In December 2022, two groups of Kenyan content moderators sued Meta for negligence and breach of contract over their exposure to graphic and disturbing material online. The cases are still pending in court.
Meta has not commented on the latest lawsuit yet. The company has previously said it is committed to providing a safe and supportive environment for its content reviewers around the world1.