A Kenyan court has given Meta 21 days to resolve a dispute out of court with 184 content moderators who are suing for unfair dismissal, seeking $1.6bn in compensation.

The moderators claim they lost their jobs at Sama, a third-party contracted by Meta, for unionising. The workers claim they were then blacklisted from roles at a second Facebook-contracted firm, Majorel.

Their job involved monitoring user content and removing any they deemed to breach Facebook’s community standards and terms of service.

If the dispute is not solved within the 21-day timeframe from the ruling on Wednesday (23 August), the matter will proceed before the court.

An April ruling granted the plaintiffs permission to sue Meta, despite the company having no official presence in Kenya.

A similar case in the US saw Facebook pay moderators $52m for psychological damages in 2020. The lawsuit, which was filed in 2018, alleged that Facebook did not protect them against psychological damage from exposure to graphic material.

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By GlobalData

In May, ex-Facebook Kenyan moderators sued Facebook over working conditions at Sama. The suit alleges that workers were subjected to irregular pay and inadequate mental health support. The plaintiffs also accused the company of union-busting.

Meta was hit with another lawsuit in December 2022, alleging that the platform’s failure to remove hateful posts contributed to the deaths of ethnic minorities in Ethiopia.