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According to a rights group, attempts at mediation between Meta and Kenyan moderators were unsuccessful.
Africa Technology

According to a rights group, attempts at mediation between Meta and Kenyan moderators were unsuccessful.

Negotiations for a resolution have failed between Meta, the parent company of Facebook, and Kenyan content moderators in a lawsuit regarding their alleged wrongful termination. A technology advocacy organization assisting the moderators reported this on Monday.

Earlier this year, 184 moderators filed a lawsuit against Meta and two subcontractors. They claimed that after organizing a union, they were fired from their jobs at one of the subcontractors, Sama. Following Facebook’s change of contractors, they were also prevented from applying for similar positions at Majorel due to being blacklisted.

In August, the court requested that the parties engage in settlement discussions outside of court. It was noted that if these negotiations were unsuccessful, the case would continue.

The tech rights organization Foxglove, based in Britain, released a statement on Monday stating that the discussions had failed. They accused Meta and Sama of not adequately addressing the main concerns brought forward by the petitioners.

“The participants were intentionally delaying and not being sincere. We patiently waited for their involvement… only for them to repeatedly request for more time and ultimately refuse to take responsibility,” stated Mercy Mutemi, an attorney representing the plaintiffs.

Sama expressed disappointment that the mediation had not been successful and declined to provide any further comments on the matter.

According to a statement, we have reached a mutually acceptable resolution with approximately 60 moderators without the need for mediation. This shows our dedication to finding a peaceful and advantageous solution. The statement also mentioned that we are fully adhering to all court orders.

Meta has chosen not to provide a comment. Majorel has not yet responded with a comment.

Meta has addressed previous claims of a negative work environment in Kenya by stating that it demands its partners to offer top-notch conditions.

Sama stated that it has consistently adhered to Kenyan regulations and offered mental health support to its workers. In August, Majorel stated that they do not make statements on issues related to ongoing or current legal proceedings.

The moderators claim that Meta is attempting to end their agreements despite a previous court ruling. Foxglove stated that a court hearing on their motion to hold Meta and Sama in contempt is set for October 31.

In Kenya, a former moderator has filed a lawsuit against Meta for alleged inadequate working conditions at Sama. Additionally, two Ethiopian researchers and a human rights institute have accused Meta of allowing the spread of violent and hateful content from Ethiopia on Facebook.

In December of last year, Meta stated that any form of hate speech or encouragement of violence is prohibited on its Facebook and Instagram platforms.