Meta Inc may be in for a new round of messy litigation as Kenya’s Employment and Labour Relations Court on Monday refused to grant the Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp parent company it’s request to expunge it from a suit about working conditions for content moderators.
A Sama-employed former Facebook content moderator identified as Daniel Motaung had filed a case alleging that employees of Sama working for Facebook had suffered psychological injury from repeated exposure to graphic and disturbing content.
In the lawsuit, Motaung claimed that the companies, Sama, Meta Platforms Inc. and Meta Platforms, Ireland Ltd, in their posturing were negligent as they did not provide moderators with adequate psychosocial support after exposing them to graphic content.
Motaun and his co-drivers in the petition also want to be paid for outstanding overtime work wages the company failed to pay, while they prayed the court to compel the companies to pay them for psychological harm caused by the nature of the job. Time reports that Motaung claimed that employees of Sama were not always in the know about the nature of the job until they start working, a form of deceptive strategy by the company.
Sama is a training-data company that helps with the annotation of data for artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms and had till January 2023 worked with Meta as its outsourcing partner for content moderation. Time in a recent report said the employees of Sama employees annotates data that Open AI, the company behind the viral AI website, Chat GPT used to train its algorithms.
Meta in its defense argued that it is not liable as the petitioners numbering about 12, together with Motaung were contracted by a third party, who outsourced them for content moderation services.
The presiding judge, Jacob Gakeri according to local reports in his ruling said rubbished Facebook’s argument that Kenyan courts do not have jurisdiction to hear the case since the foreign corporations are not domiciled or trading in Kenya, and ruled against it.
“My finding is that 2nd and 3rd respondent shall not be struck,” Gakeri said.