Labour court in Kenya says Facebook parent Meta can be sued in the country by content moderator citing psychological harm
A Kenya labour court has ruled Facebook parent Meta can be sued in the country by a former content moderator who said he was insufficiently protected from psychological harm due to the graphic and violent images he viewed on the job.
The lawsuit, backed by legal campaign group Foxglove, was also filed against contracting group Sama who was the immediate employer of former moderator Daniel Motaung.
Meta had argued the court had no jurisdiction because the firm is not based in Kenya and should as such be stricken from the case.
“Since the petition has raised certain actual issues that are yet to be determined, it would be inopportune for the country to strike out the two respondents from the matter,” said Judge Jacob Gakeri in his ruling on Monday, according to a Reuters report.
The lawsuit, filed by Motaung on behalf of a group of affected parties, seeks financial compensation, an order that outsourced moderators have the same healthcare and pay scale as Meta employees, the protection of unionisation rights and an independent human rights audit of the office.
The decision may have implications for how Meta works with the thousands of content moderators it employs around the world to review content that may violate its rules.
The company faces similar disputes elsewhere.
In 2021 a California judge approved an $85 million (£71m) settlement between Facebook and more than 10,000 content moderators who had accused the company of failing to provide adequate mental health support for their jobs.
The company is also facing another lawsuit in Kenya accusing it of allowing the spread of material that inflamed the Ethiopian civil war.
Meta said hate speech and incitement to violence were against the rules of Facebook and Instagram and that it invests heavily in moderation and technology to remove such content.
“We employ staff with local knowledge and expertise and continue to develop our capabilities to catch violating content in the most widely spoken languages in the country, including Amharic, Oromo, Somali and Tigrinya,” the company said.