Kenya: Facebook Layoff Lawsuit – Negotiations Crumble as Parties Fail to Reach Deal

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According to the BBC, settlement negotiations failed in a protracted legal dispute among 184 Facebook content moderators in Nairobi and Meta, the platform’s parent company.

These moderators, in charge of filtering violent and graphic material, claim that their attempts to form a union led to their termination. They were employees of the nearby subcontractor, Sama, which had no objections to unionization.

When Sama terminated its agreement with Meta, 260 moderators were let off. The 184 moderators who filed the lawsuit claim that they were fired in retribution for raising concerns about the circumstances of their jobs and attempting to organize a union.

The moderators against Meta, Sama, and another outsourcing company, Majorel, are pursuing legal action. While Meta uses AI to find and eliminate graphic Facebook material, it still depends on human moderators to deal with objectionable postings.

Many moderators emphasized how difficult their jobs were, which earned roughly US$630 per month. One moderator talked about how upsetting it was to watch a video of a guy killing himself in front of a youngster.

The moderators claimed they were punished for raising concerns about the working environment and attempts at unionization. They demand that Meta recognize the ability of moderators to form a union and speak out about working conditions. They also claim that Majorel has unfairly denied them employment prospects.

Recent events demonstrate that a court order connected to the ongoing legal action would prevent Meta from working with Majorel in Kenya. In August, the parties were required to attempt an out-of-court solution through mediation; this attempt has since been unsuccessful. The next hearing in the legal matter is planned for October 31.

While the moderators’ attorneys accused Meta of lacking commitment, Meta’s lawyer claimed that the conversations were progressing. Sama voiced unhappiness with the mediation’s conclusion but highlighted coming to separate agreements with over 60 moderators.

Ex-moderator Daniel Motaung is suing Meta in Kenya over unfavorable working circumstances, and there are claims that Meta’s algorithm fueled hate and bloodshed during Ethiopia’s civil war.

 

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