Thursday, May 23, 2024

Kenyan Facebook Moderators Fault Meta Negotiation

The lawyer representing 184 former Facebook content moderators based in Kenya that Meta has not been sincere in trying to reach an out-of-court settlement as agreed in the last court session.

Lawyer Mercy Mutemi said the talks had collapsed and the former moderators want to proceed with a contempt of court case against Meta.

The lawsuit is the first known court challenge of its kind against Facebook outside the United States. In 2020, Facebook agreed to pay $52 million to U.S. content moderators who filed a class action lawsuit after they were repeatedly exposed to beheadings, child and sexual abuse, animal cruelty, terrorism and other disturbing content.

Facebook and Sama have defended their employment practices.

The moderators were employed via Sama, a San Francisco subcontractor that describes itself as an ethical AI company, to work in its hub in the capital, Nairobi.

Their job entailed screening user content in 12 African languages and removing any uploads deemed to breach Facebook’s community standards and terms of service.

Some of the petitioners said their job required them to watch horrific content for eight hours a day which distressed many of them while being paid 60,000 Kenyan shillings.

They accused Sama of doing little to ensure post-traumatic professional counselling was offered and are seeking $1.6 billion in compensation.Meta and Sama lawyers told the court they thought the mediation was making good progress, with long hours involved, until the moderators’ lawyer wrote to them in protest.

Justice Nduma Nderi said the failed talks were a missed opportunity to find a balance between the parties involved as opposed to the court issuing an order. The parties will now appear at a hearing on Oct. 31 on the moderators’ application to find Meta and Sama in contempt of court.

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