A total of 43 Facebook content moderators in Kenya who were sacked in January are to sue the social media behemoth’s parent Meta for unfair dismissal, according to a statement published on their behalf Monday.
Meta, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, is seeking to slash its workforce by around a quarter inside six months as the tech sector endures bumpy times with Facebook, which became Meta in late 2021, notably battling a slowdown in online advertising.
“In January, 260 content moderators working at Facebook’s moderation hub in Nairobi, Kenya, were told that they would be made redundant by Sama, the outsourcing firm that has run the office since 2019,” the statement read.
“Overnight, these moderators doing critical safety work for East and South Africa lost their jobs.
“In the biggest legal challenge yet to Meta’s African operations, 43 moderators at Facebook’s Nairobi moderation hub are suing the social media firm and its outsourcers for sacking the entire workforce — and for blacklisting all the laid-off workers.”
Asked by AFP for a response, Meta did not immediately comment.
Last December, a Kenyan NGO and two Ethiopian citizens filed a lawsuit in Kenya against Meta, accusing the platform of not doing enough to combat online hate speech, and urged the creation of a $1.6 billion fund to compensate victims.
The action claimed that Meta promoted speech that led to ethnic violence and killings in Ethiopia by using an algorithm liable to prioritise or recommend hateful and violent content on Facebook.