A former Facebook moderator filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Kenya’s Employment and Labor Court against Facebook’s parent company, Meta, over poor working conditions.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a group of contracted moderators working for Sama, a multinational company that provides outsourcing services to numerous websites, which is also named in the suit. It alleges that contracted content moderators in Kenya are subjected to unreasonable working conditions and unfair labor practices. This includes forced labor, mental injury, union-busting and violations of the rights to privacy and human dignity under the Kenyan constitution.
It also seeks an order that would recognize contracted moderators as employees of Meta, ensuring that outsourced moderators have the same healthcare and pay scale as other Meta employees. Additionally it demands an office audit for human rights and that Meta be compelled to uphold unionization rights.
The former employee, Daniel Motaung, stated that “Sama and Meta acted negligently. They failed to provide adequate precautions for safety and mental wellbeing, exposing the workers to risk, danger and injury.” However, Motaung is the only employee providing evidence in the suit, as other employees were made to sign non-disclosure agreements at the beginning of their employment with Sama.
According to local experts, the demands in the suit could reverberate beyond Kenya. Odanga Madung, a fellow at the Mozilla foundation said “This could have ripple effects. Facebook is going to have to reveal a lot about how they run their moderation operations.”