US social media giant Meta is seeking a dismissal of the case against him in Kenya, saying the East African country does not have jurisdiction to determine it. The filing follows a lawsuit filed last month against Meta and Sama, its main content moderation subcontractor in Africa, over allegations of union busting and exploitation.
Daniel Mutang, a South African formerly a content moderator at Sama, says he was fired for organizing a strike in 2019 and trying to unionize a subcontractor’s employees. He claims that Meta and Sama “subjected current and former content moderators to forced labor and human trafficking for work.” He adds that he was exposed to graphic content that affected his psyche.
Following the lawsuit, Meta Platforms Inc and Meta Platforms Ireland filed a complaint claiming that they are foreign corporations (not registered or trading in Kenya) and that the Supreme Court of Kenya has no authority over them.
On Tuesday, it was decided that the jurisdiction case would be heard first (with the next hearing set for June 27) before the main claim could proceed.
“The second and third defendants (Meta Platforms Inc and Meta Platforms Ireland) are foreign corporations that are neither resident, corporate or merchant in Kenya and, accordingly, this Esteemed Court has no jurisdiction over them,” the senior said. Fred Ojiambo, Kaplan & Stratton Legal Counsel. named Meta, in an app spotted by TechCrunch.
“In any event, the applicant did not invoke the jurisdiction of this respected court in seeking and obtaining permission from this respected court, as required by law.”
The Meta also asked for the case to be closed in a statement, noting that the moderators had signed a non-disclosure agreement forbidding them from issuing evidence against him.
Facebook moderators review his social media posts across all of their platforms to remove content that incites and perpetuates hate, disinformation and violence.
Lawyers for Nzuli and Nsumbi, the law firm representing Motaung in the statement, said content moderators at Sama were subject to unfair labor lawsuits and did not receive adequate mental health support.
They added that Sama allowed for a “toxic work environment” that prevented moderators from sharing the nature of the work and their experiences with third parties, including Meta employees.
Lawyers also said that Sama conducted a “fraudulent recruitment process” by opening positions that did not define the nature of the job. The moderators, based in Nairobi, came from a number of countries, including Ethiopia, Uganda and Somalia.
The law firm also claims that the performance of Sama employees is tracked using Meta software to measure screen time and employee movement during work hours.
Mutang is seeking financial compensation for himself and other former and current moderators. He also wants Sama and Meta to be forced to stop union busting and provide mental health support, among other things.
While Meta tries to distance himself from the case and gets the petition dismissed, Sama has not claimed any wrongdoing in the past.
Credit: techcrunch.com /