A verdict on the continuation of Meta’s prosecution in Kenya will be issued early next year • TechCrunch

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A decision on whether Meta has standing in Kenya will be made early next year following court filings today by lawyers representing the social media giant and plaintiff Daniel Motown.

Motaung, a South African national, is suing Meta and its main content moderation subcontractor in Africa, Sama, for forced labor and human trafficking, unfair labor practices, union busting and failure to provide “adequate” mental and psychosocial support. Motuang previously worked for Sama, whose moderators, based in a hub in Nairobi, come from a number of African countries.

The applications were made after Metta filed an application at the Employment and Labor Relations Tribunal of Kenya requesting to receive case against him refused, saying it was not registered in the East African country and therefore local courts had no jurisdiction over it. Meta also claimed that Motaung was not his employee but Sama.

The ruling, set for February 6, 2023, will determine whether Matta will continue to face charges in Kenya. Lawyers Nzuli and Nsumbi, the law firm representing Motaung, argued that Meta could be sued in Kenya because it operates in the country, pays digital services tax and its platforms, including Facebook, are widely used in the country.

The lawyers also said that the work done by Sama’s content moderators, who sift through social media posts on Meta platforms to remove posts that spread hate, misinformation and violence, is being done by Meta.

“The correct position is that the work done by the applicant (Motaung) and other Facebook content moderators on the 1st respondent’s premises (Sama) was commissioned and supervised by the 2nd and 3rd respondents (Meta Platforms Inc and Meta Platforms Ireland ). This petition is related to human rights violations that took place in the course of this work. For this reason, the 2nd and 3rd respondents, being the bona fide employers of the Petitioner, are proper parties to this petition,”

“…The work which resulted in the violation of human rights was commissioned and supervised by the 2nd and 3rd defendants (Meta Platforms Inc and Meta Platforms Ireland).”

In response, law firm Kaplan and Stratton argued that Meta was a foreign entity and that it was not subject to Kenya’s constitution and thus “could not have infringed the applicants’ rights”.

Mutang, who was fired for allegedly organizing the 2019 strike and trying to unionize Sama employees, is seeking financial compensation for himself and other former and current moderators. He also wants Sama and Meta to be forced to stop union busting and provide mental health support among other demands.

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