Facebook content moderators in Kenya are filing suit against the social media site’s parent company Meta (META.O) and two outsourcing firms for unlawful redundancy, a rights group said on Monday.
The 43 applicants say they were fired from Sama, a Kenya-based company contracted to moderate Facebook content, for organising a union. They also say they were banned from applying for similar roles at another outsourcing company, Majorel, after Facebook switched contractors.
In February, Meta filed an appeal in Kenya disputing a ruling which said it could be sued in another lawsuit brought by a moderator over alleged poor working conditions, even though it has no official presence in the east African country.
The lawsuits could have implications for how Meta works with content moderators across the world. The U.S. firm works with thousands of moderators globally, assigned with reviewing graphic content posted on its platform.
“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,” said Cori Crider from Foxglove, a technology rights group which is supporting the latest lawsuit.
Meta, Sama, and Majorel failed to immediately reply to requests for comment.
In January, 260 content moderators employed at Facebook’s moderation hub in Nairobi were told they would be laid off by Sama, the outsourcing company which has run the office since 2019, Foxglove said in a statement.Buy Bitcoin Now
The moderators accuse Meta of telling Majorel not to hire any moderators who previously worked at by Sama, the court petition showed.
“The redundancy being undertaken is unlawful because no genuine nor justifiable reason was given for the redundancy,” the moderators said in their application.
“The moderators have been given varying and confusing explanations for the redundancy which do not add up.”
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