Meta has been temporarily barred by a Kenyan court from engaging its new content moderation subcontractor, Majorel, pending the hearing of a new case, filed by 43 content moderators yesterday over illegal sacking and blacklisting.

The interim injunction has also barred Sama, Meta’s outgoing content moderation partner, from effecting any form of redundancy. The hearing is set for March 28, and in the meantime, Sama will exclusively offer content review services to Meta.

This comes as Sama plans to lay-off 260 content moderators, that served the Eastern and Southern Africa, at the end of this month after shutting down its content review arm in January.

The moderators are alleging “unlawful termination” by Sama, and discrimination by Majorel, who they claim has blacklisted all of Sama’s previous employees. The petition claims that moderators applying for jobs at Majorel were “denied on the basis that they previously worked at the 3rd Respondent’s (Sama) facility.”

The moderators claim in a petition before the employment and labour relations court, that Sama failed to issue redundancy notices, as required by Kenyan law. The suit also claims, among other issues, that the moderators were not issued with a 30-day termination notice, and that their terminal dues were pegged on their signing of non-disclosure documents.

Sama says it observed the Kenyan law, and that it communicated the decision to discontinue content moderation in a town hall, and through email and notification letters.

Trouble for Sama began after an ex-employee sued it alongside Meta on claims of union-busting that lifted the lid on the working conditions that moderators go through to make social sites like Facebook less toxic.

More to follow

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