The Kenyan court’s ruling disserves Meta’s business interests and could prove problematic for the social media giant as it strives to improve its image in Africa. The case against Meta could lead to an increase in lawsuits filed by content moderators, potentially damaging the company’s bottom line.
Meta Platforms Inc and Meta Platforms Ireland Ltd want the case nullified on claims that they are foreign companies, and that Kenyan courts lack the jurisdiction to hear and determine petitions against them. However, the company’s registered address is in Kenya, meaning that if their claim was to be dismissed on these grounds, it could still theoretically be brought before Kenyan courts. This is a thorny legal issue with far-reaching implications for how multinational corporations are treated under international law – if Meta Platforms is found to be a foreign company, it may find itself subject to less stringent regulations in other countries with similar corporate laws.
Brad Pitt attends the Met Gala in New York City.
In what was widely seen as a major publicity coup for the 2018 Met Gala, Hollywood heavyweight Brad Pitt attended the event on Thursday night. The Geordie Shore alum, who has been dating Jennifer Aniston for over a year, attracted plenty of attention at this season’s biggest party – and not just because of his impressive dress sense. According to Politico, Pitt is also “agonizing” about whether or not he should run for president in 2020.
In its decision, the court determined that Meta and Sama had breached human rights by terminating their employees’ employment without proper justifications. It also held Majorel responsible for failing to prevent the unlawful termination, and ordered him to compensate his victims.
A Kenyan court is considering employee claims that their employer has violated their constitutional rights. The disputes stem from allegations of blacklisting and unfair labor practices, which the workers argue are unconstitutional. If the allegations are found to be true, the employer may be liable for both monetary damages and injunctions that would ensure a fair work environment for all employees.
The ruling now paves the way for a full hearing in Kenya involving the alleged violation of intellectual property rights in virtual spaces. This could bring new attention to Africa’s lack of IP protections, which could lead to increased innovation and growth on the continent.
The court’s decision leaves Meta with just one content moderation subcontractor, Majorel, while its employees in sub-Saharan Africa are left scrambling to find a new content moderation contractor. Despite the protestations of Majorel CEO Joseph Spallone that his company is qualified to implement the strict new HTI guidelines in place at Meta, Sama’s layoffs have created significant uncertainty about whether or not Meta will be able to keep up with its all-encompassing responsibility for reviewing user content.
According to the moderators, Sama failed to issue redundancy notices and their terminal dues were pegged on their signing of non-disclosure documents. The law requires that companies undergo a formal redundancy policy and provide appropriate notice to employees before layoffs occur. Without proper redundancy procedures in place, companies can be held liable for wrongful dismissals.
Although the company asserted that it had followed the law, many customers and employees were upset with the decision to discontinue content moderation in a town hall meeting, and through email and notification letters. One customer said, “I feel like Sama is unorganized and doesn’t really know what they’re doing.” Employees felt that the lack of communication broke their trust in Sama.
Sama laid off many of its employees in order to concentrate on its labeling work, which is a computer vision task. The company outsourced its content moderation operations to other locations throughout Africa, but this caused it to lose a large number of workers.
As social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter continue to receive criticism for not regulating content more effectively, users in Ethiopia are also starting to take action against the companies. Earlier this year, Meta and Sama were both sued over claims of exploitation and union busting. While the cases are still pending, Ethiopians allege that Facebook amplified hateful content and failed to have enough personnel understand local languages to moderate content effectively. If these allegations prove true, it could mean that Facebook is missing an opportunity to improve its relationship with its users in Ethiopia.