Mediation Breakdown Between Meta and Kenyan Moderators, Rights Group Reports


Summary: Settlement talks between Meta (Facebook’s parent company) and Kenyan content moderators have collapsed, according to a tech rights group. The moderators had filed a lawsuit alleging unfair dismissal after losing their jobs for organizing a union. Meta and subcontractor Sama have been accused of not addressing the core issues raised by the moderators. The case will now proceed to court. The moderators have also accused Meta of trying to terminate their contracts in defiance of a court order.

Settlement talks between Meta (META.O) and Kenyan content moderators over a lawsuit alleging unfair dismissal have broken down, according to a tech rights group. The moderators, consisting of 184 individuals, sued Meta and two subcontractors earlier this year after losing their jobs due to their involvement in organizing a union. They claim to have been blacklisted from applying for similar roles at a second firm, Majorel, after Facebook changed contractors.

In August, the court instructed the parties to engage in out-of-court settlement talks and warned that the case would proceed before the court if an agreement couldn’t be reached. However, British tech rights group Foxglove has now issued a statement stating that the negotiations have failed. Foxglove accused Meta and Sama of making minimal efforts to address the main concerns raised by the plaintiffs.

The statement quoted Mercy Mutemi, a lawyer for the moderators, who expressed disappointment in the lack of genuine participation from the respondents. According to Mutemi, the respondents repeatedly requested extensions of time only to refuse to take accountability in the end. Meta declined to comment on the matter, while there has been no immediate response from Sama and Majorel.

The moderators also allege that Meta is attempting to terminate their contracts in defiance of a previous court order. Foxglove has reported that a hearing on the moderators’ petition to find Meta and Sama in contempt of court is scheduled for October 31. This latest revelation comes on the heels of another lawsuit against Meta in Kenya, where a former moderator has accused the company of poor working conditions at Sama. Additionally, two Ethiopian researchers and a rights institute have also sued Meta, claiming that the company has allowed violent and hateful posts from Ethiopia to proliferate on Facebook.

In response to these accusations, Meta stated in December of last year that hate speech and incitement to violence are against the rules of its Facebook and Instagram platforms.

Tags: Meta, Kenya, content moderators, lawsuit, unfair dismissal, settlement talks, rights group, subcontractors, blacklisted, contract termination