Following complaints, Facebook content moderators in Kenya will receive a 30-50% pay rise.
Kenyan Facebook content moderators would have a wage raise of 30 to 50 percent. This news comes two weeks after TIME published an investigation article revealing that Sama, the business in charge of Facebook’s Sub-Saharan Africa content moderation since 2019, was paying content moderators poorly and providing bad working conditions in Nairobi.
According to TIME sources, Sama told staff in a meeting on Tuesday that every content moderator will get an extra 20,000 Kenyan shillings ($176) every month.
“The raise means that the lowest-paid Facebook content moderators at Sama will now take home around 50,000 Kenyan shillings ($439) each month after-tax, or around $2.20 per hour for a 9-hour working day. This is up from around $1.50 per hour previously.”
According to the sources, all content moderators were also guaranteed yearly incentives worth one month’s salary as an incentive to stay at the firm.
Despite the obvious link, Habel Kamau, a human resources director at Sama’s Nairobi office, claims that the salary boost is unrelated to TIME’s publication of the research. He said that talks about a pay hike had been going on for a time and that the raise was made possible by budget savings elsewhere, not by Sama getting more money from Facebook.
Although many content moderators are pleased with the wage increase, others believe it is insufficient. Employees at Sama continue to be among Facebook’s lowest-paid workers elsewhere on the planet. While Sama’s lowest beginning wage for a Facebook content moderator is $2.20 per hour, outsourced Facebook content moderators in the United States earn an average of $18 per hour.
Employees have demanded that their wages be increased in 2019, according to South African Daniel Motaung, a former Sama employee who was sacked after attempting to establish a union.
“This increase will make a difference but it won’t change their lives,” Motaung said in the statement. “They still won’t be able to buy a house or feed their families in line with the ‘lifting the poor out of poverty narrative that Sama continuously boasts about.”
Sama declined to comment on charges that company executives thwarted a unionization campaign in 2019, causing Motaung to lose his job. Facebook’s parent company, Meta, also declined to comment on the salary hike announcement. The wage boost is considered as a victory for the content moderators and a confirmation of the value of employees speaking up.