CASE UPDATE: Kenyan judge upholds emergency order protecting the jobs of 260 Facebook key safety workers until April 12

There’s been an important update in our case challenging the unlawful sacking of 260 Facebook content moderators in Nairobi.

On Tuesday, Justice Nduma Nderi rejected Facebook’s attempt to dismiss an interim court order blocking Facebook and outsourcing company Sama from firing its entire content moderation workforce for East and Southern Africa. 

This means the jobs of the 260 moderators remain safe until a future hearing determines the legality of the mass sacking.

The interim order is part of a legal case, supported by Foxglove, brought by 43 of the 260 moderators at Facebook’s Nairobi moderation hub. Messages between Sama and Facebook’s new outsourcing partner, Majorel, revealed that the recruiters were specifically instructed not to hire any moderators previously employed by Sama.

One message from a recruiter to a Sama moderator applying to the jobs said: “Unfortunately they will not accept candidates from Sama it’s a strict no”.

This is essentially a blacklisting of experienced workers in apparent retaliation for demanding fair work. Please stand in solidarity with these workers by signing the petition: 

Justice Nderi’s decision to uphold the order also stops Facebook switching suppliers to Majorel because the case argues the switch is being carried out in a discriminatory way.

The upholding of the order is a huge moment in the Nairobi moderators’ case, as it blocks the mass sacking that would have made many destitute. Foxglove has heard from moderators desperately worried about how they would feed their families because of Facebook and Sama’s callousness, with many facing being forced to leave Kenya. 

At least one moderator, facing a return to poverty because of the layoff, has attempted suicide.

Listen to Foxglove director Cori Crider describe the significance of yesterday’s court order and what’s at stake for the content moderators battling to save their livelihoods in the face of abhorrent treatment from Facebook, in an interview with the BBC:

The moderators will be back in court with Facebook and Sama on April 12 for the next hearing. You can show your solidarity by signing our petition at the button below calling on Mark Zuckerberg to reverse the mass sacking and protect the jobs of all existing Sama moderators.