Kenya rejects Meta attempt to stop work abuse lawsuit against it
The Kenyan court is due to convene next month on March 8 to see how to proceed to a hearing to prosecute Meta Platforms Inc.
Facebook parent company, Meta, has been attempting to stop the filing of a lawsuit against it on the basis of workplace exploitation and work conditions, but a court in Kenya blocked it on Monday.
A former content moderator at the contractor company Sama, responsible for reviewing Facebook posts, filed the lawsuit on account of Kenyan workers subjected to forced labor, unequal pay, and no right to unionize. Meta responded by saying that the local employment and labor relations court have no jurisdiction over the case since Meta neither trades in nor is based in the country.
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"My finding is that (the) second and third respondent shall not be struck from the proceeding," High Court judge Jacob Gakeri said, referring to Meta Platforms Inc as the second and Meta Platforms Ireland Ltd. as the third.
According to Gakeri, the companies are "proper parties" in the lawsuit, as the court is due to convene next month on March 8 to further seek how to proceed to a hearing.
Aftershocks of a whistleblower
UK legal activist firm Foxglove expressed it was "extremely pleased" with the ruling in Kenya with its director Cori Crider stating, "We think it's right that this trial be heard in Kenya, where the abuses happened."
Other human rights activist groups such as Amnesty International Kenya also spoke up on the matter, describing the ruling as "a significant step that ensures the authority of Kenyan courts to protect and enforce fundamental human rights."
With its content moderation for eastern and southern Africa headquartered out of the capital Nairobi, Facebook is also up against another lawsuit in the country brought by two individuals and a rights group, carrying the accusation of inadequately handling hateful content, namely against the war in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region.
In one of the cases, a petitioner claimed that his father, an ethnic Tigrayan, was targeted with racist messages on Facebook before being murdered in November 2021 following Facebook's neglect in handling it.
The petitioners are requesting a compensation fund of 200 billion Kenyan shilling ($1.6 billion) intended for victims of hate incited on the social media platform.
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This comes in light of the 2021 scandal against the platform whereby whistleblower Frances Haugen declared that platform executives were well aware of the platform's ability to incite hate speech and thus bring damage to the mental health of users.
In another instance of mishandling, Rohingya refugees, a Muslim minority persecuted from Myanmar in 2017 and part of a UN genocide investigation, sued Facebook in 2021 for $150 billion on account of the company's failure to filter hate speech against them.
Meta bans Palestine
A Human Rights Watch report released in October 2021 said Meta wrongfully removed and suppressed content by Palestinians and their supporters, including content regarding human rights abuses committed by "Israel" against Palestinians during the Seif Al-Quds battle.
Human Rights Watch documented several removals of posts by Meta's Instagram.
Those posts included:
1. A screenshot of New York Times photos and opinion articles, which a user posted with a caption urging Palestinians to never concede.
2. A photo of a building captioned: "This is a photo of my family’s building before it was struck by Israeli missiles on Saturday, May 15, 2021. We have three apartments in this building."
3. A political cartoon asserting that Palestinians are oppressed, not fighting a religious war with the occupation.