Facebook moderators hold sit down demonstration at Nairobi center

Content moderators from African countries are holding a sit-in demonstration at Facebook’s main moderation center for East Africa in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. The group of 184 executives was embroiled in a layoff against Facebook’s parent company, Meta, and Sama and Majorel, companies outsourced to Meta.

They are supported by the legal campaign group Foxglove. Protests are taking place at Sama’s offices against what they say is the company’s violation of court orders, including withholding some wages and requiring some executives to leave the country before receive contributions.

A court order was issued to preserve the operator’s status as a legal immigrant while the case is decided. Meta, Sama and Majorel have yet to comment on the latest allegations.

Police gave the green light for the protest to continue. Judge Byrum Ongaya of the High Court of Employment and Labor Relations will hear the case, including the new contempt charges, on May 11. The court blocked the dismissal of all Sama moderators and the hiring of new moderators by Majorel Kenya on behalf of Meta.

Some moderators claim to have been exposed to objectionable content such as child abuse, suicide bombings, and sexual abuse as they filter posts to protect users.

In March, Sama laid off 260 moderators as he focused on video annotation work to help train an artificial intelligence computer vision system.

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