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Meta loses bid to block Kenya court case


Emmanuel Igunza & Priya Sippy
Tuesday February 7, 2023

Social media giant Meta, which owns Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, has failed to stop a Kenyan court from hearing a case that alleges poor working conditions at the company.

Meta wanted the case dismissed, saying that Kenyan courts have no jurisdiction because Meta is not domiciled in, nor does it trade from, Kenya, but a judge rejected the argument.

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Former content moderator Daniel Motaung, who worked for local outsourcing company Sama, said he was paid about $2.20 (£1.80) per hour to review posts including beheadings and child abuse.

The toll of the work left Mr Motaung with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He alleges he was fired after pushing to form a union to advocate for better working conditions.

"We are extremely delighted by the ruling. It is not just historic but globally significant," Irungu Houghton, the head of Amnesty International Kenya, told BBC Focus on Africa.

"This could be the first time that Meta has been brought under a court of law in the global south."

He said it will also open the door for "content moderators to be protected in a court of law in the countries in which they live".

Meta faces a separate case in Kenya that alleges Facebook's algorithm helped to fuel the viral spread of hate and violence during Ethiopia's civil war.

Abrham Meareg, the son of an Ethiopian academic shot dead after being attacked in Facebook posts, is among those bringing the case against Meta.

They want a $2bn (£1.6bn) fund for victims of hate on Facebook, and changes to the platform's algorithm.

Meta said it invested heavily in moderation and tech to remove hate.



 





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