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Kenyan court rules Meta can be sued in local courts for allegedly violating labour rights


A case brought against Facebook’s parent company Meta by its former employee Daniel Motaung has broadened the scope of legal cases against the company and confirmed that it can be sued in local courts. Meta wanted the case dropped.

In the case, the South African national alleges that Meta and its local outsourcing partner Sama exposed him and his colleagues to “toxic” work conditions while they were contracted to work as content moderators.

Matuong claims that he was subjected to forced to labor, exploitation, human trafficking, unfair labor relations, union busting, and failure to provide “adequate” mental health and psychosocial support.

In his ruling, Justice Jacob Gakeri said, “The second and third respondents’ names [Meta Platforms Inc and Meta platforms Ireland Ltd] shall not be struck out at this stage.”

Meta had argued that while it has operations in Kenya, it’s a foreign company and its contracts with Sama don’t make it susceptible to Kenyan laws.

This ruling now, which Amnesty International says is the first in which Meta is  “significantly subjected to a court of law in the global south,” could also affect the proceedings of yet another case against the tech giant in Kenyan courts.

The case accuses Meta of failing to prevent hate speech and incitement to violence in Ethiopia.

That lawsuit was filed in December by rights group Katiba Institute and two Ethiopian researchers Fisseha Tekle and Abrham Meareg, whose father Professor Meareg Amare Abrha, a Tigrian academic was killed in the war.

The case between Motaung and Meta is due for further directions on in early March.

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Simon W Nderitu

Simon is a tech enthusiast who keeps a close eye on emerging technologies, startups and the general business environment. You will often catch him totally immersed and drooling over Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, IoT and just about any other tech that promises to revolutionize the way we live. Send tips to snderitu@techtrendske.co.ke

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