More than two thirds of Nairobi’s Facebook content moderators have joined the lawsuit opposing the mass layoffs!
A lot can change in three weeks.
When content moderators in Nairobi Kenya launched their case against Facebook and outsourcing company Sama’s plan to force them into a mass redundancy, they numbered 43 – making a brave stand on behalf of the 260 moderators working at Facebook’s Nairobi hub, responsible for moderating content for the entirety of East and Southern Africa.
Today, that figure stands at 183 – soon to be 184 – more than quadrupling in just 21 days.
During the hearing last week one moderator who wasn’t yet part of the case stood up in the packed courtroom and asked the judge if she could join the case – he directed her to speak to our amazing Kenyan counsel Mercy Mutemi.
Everyone at Foxglove is awestruck by the incredible bravery of these key Facebook safety workers, standing in solidarity with one another to defend their jobs and face down one of the most powerful companies in the world.
But Facebook is still trying to argue that it doesn’t have to answer to Kenyan justice – just like they did in the case of Daniel Motaung. Facebook argues that’s because it’s an American company and it doesn’t do business there. It neglects to mention content moderators in Kenya moderate Facebook content, using Facebook’s tools, Facebook’s policies and Facebook’s performance metrics. Facebook also accept payments for ads in Kenya while Facebook, along with Meta’s other platforms WhatsApp and Instagram, is one of the most popular social media tools in Kenya.
Needless to say, at the hearings on Wednesday and Thursday last week, Mercy argued that Facebook is, just as in Daniel’s case, “a proper party” to the lawsuit. The judge listened to both sides and will deliver his judgment next Thursday on April 20.
The court also heard that Facebook, along with outsourcing companies Sama and Majorel, may be in contempt of court for breaking the terms of the interim court order made by Justice Nderi Nduma blocking the mass layoffs.
Despite urging from lawyers for Sama at the hearing that the order had lapsed, or did not apply to moderators whose contracts had lapsed, Justice Nduma said the order not to terminate contracts – or change suppliers – remains in place.
If upheld, Facebook, Sama and Majorel could be held in contempt of court, requiring their respective CEOs, Mark Zuckerberg, Wendy Gonzalez and Thomas Mackenbrock, to appear in court to explain their breaches of the order, while also handed fines of 10 million Kenyan shillings ($74,500) on each company per day since the order was granted on March 20.
Sign the petition in solidarity with these content moderators here: