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Court blocks sacking of content moderators, holds Meta liable

What's the next step for Meta?

Edited By: Manik Berry

Published: Jun 03, 2023, 03:50 PM IST


Story Highlights

  • Third-party content moderators from Kenya have sued Meta and its partner company.
  • Meta claimed that third-party moderators were not Meta employees.
  • A U.S. court has now made Meta part of the lawsuit.

A court has ruled that Meta (formerly Facebook) does employ third-party content moderators, sending a blow to the social network which said it is not the moderators’ employer.

In the lawsuit filed in March, 184 moderators in Kenya had sued Meta and its content review partner in Africa, a company called Sama, for unlawful dismissal.

They also alleged that Meta’s new content review partner on the continent, Majorel, blacklisted them on instruction by the tech giant, reports TechCrunch.

Justice Byram Ongaya of Kenya’s employment and labour relations court said in a ruling that Sama was “merely an agent or manager.”

Sama disputed this, saying “Meta is a client of Sama’s and Sama is not legally empowered to act on behalf of Meta.”

“The third respondent (Sama) was acting as an agent of the owner of the work of content moderation the first and second respondents (Meta Platforms Inc and Meta Platforms Ireland Limited), there is nothing in the arrangements to absolve the first and second respondents as the primary and principal employers of the content moderators,” the ruling read.

Meta did not comment on the ruling.

The court also directed that moderators’ contracts be extended and also barred Meta and Sama from sacking them.

The ruling said there was no suitable justification for the redundancies, and that it had “found that the job of content moderation is available. The applicants will continue working upon the prevailing or better terms in the interim.”

The moderators alleged that Sama fired them illegally after failing to issue them with redundancy notices as required by Kenyan law.


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Author Name | Manik Berry


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