Facebook faces lawsuit for allegedly violating human, labour rights in its Nairobi hub

By , K24 Digital
On Mon, 9 May, 2022 16:12 | 2 mins read

Facebook and its agent Samasource Kenya EPZ limited (Sama) faces a lawsuit in Kenya for alleged poor working conditions, violating human and labour rights of its content moderators at its Nairobi hub.

In a statement to the press seen by K24 Digital a former Facebook employee in Kenya, Daniel Motaung who was reportedly fired in February this year after questioning the working conditions of the American social media giant Meta is expected to file a case at Nairobi's Milimani Law Courts on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, for severe human rights violations at Facebook’s main content moderation hub.

"The unprecedented case in Africa’s Silicon Savannah is to be filed on Tuesday, exactly 10 days after the world acknowledged Labour Day and nearly a year after a class action case of a similar nature against Facebook Inc (now Meta) ended with a settlement of approximately KES 9.9 billion (USD 85 million) in California, USA," a statement by Motoung's lawyer Mercy Mutemi of Nzili and Sumbi Advocates read.

Motaung, a former Facebook content moderator, states that the intended suit to be lodged before the High court tomorrow will be seeking among others, acknowledgement of wrongdoing, major workplace reforms, compensation and reparation for damages.

The lawyer says its client Motaung intends to sue Meta and Sama over the alleged unsafe and unfair work conditions dolled on its content moderators. It is alleged that Sama had breached a number of rights including the health and privacy of its Kenyan and international staff.

Nzili and Sumbi Advocates also state that Motoung will be seeking compensation from Meta Platforms Inc., the company that owns Facebook, its subsidiary, Meta Platforms Ireland Limited, and agent in Kenya, Samasource Kenya EPZ Limited for wrongful termination of his contract.

It is alleged that the former content moderator for the social media platform was fired for trying to organise a trade union with his 100 co-workers in the Nairobi office to protest what they felt were exploitative working conditions.

Following his firing, Motaung through his lawyers demanded that both Meta and Sama adhere to Kenya's labour, privacy and health laws, including that it provides its content moderators with adequate mental health insurance and better compensation.

Additionally, the lawyer demanded that the two firms recruit qualified and experienced health professionals for the content moderators.

Currently, Sama is already facing two complaints and an investigation that could lead to the revocation of its special ‘B Corp’ and ‘EPZ’ statuses.

B Corp and EPZ statuses are special designations associated with ‘ethical’ firms and start-ups in US and Kenya respectively and they confer significant advantages. An EPZ in Kenya, for example, enjoys a 10-year corporate income tax holiday, among other benefits. Sama raised $70 million in investment last year off the back of its B Corp certification.

240 Facebook Content Moderators at the Sama Nairobi office cover the Eastern and Southern Africa region and are recruited from Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Africa, Namibia, and other parts of the continent.