Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram is reportedly shutting down its East African office in Nairobi, Kenya, after its third party contractor, Sama, announced changes to its operation.
The operational changes by Sama begins March 2023, after the content moderation terms of service with Facebook come to an end, as the company would be moving away from policing harmful content to focusing solely on computer vision data annotation, otherwise known as data labelling.
The move is set to cut off 200 staff from the company and leaving several employees without work permits.
Meta first contracted Sama in 2007, hiring about 1,500 workers for data labelling and training its artificial intelligence, but their role was later changed to content moderation.
“The current economic climate requires more efficient and streamlined business operations,” Sama said as quoted by Financial Times, encouraging employees to apply for vacancies at its offices in Kenya or Uganda.
The news comes two months after Meta announced it would be cutting its global headcount by 13 per cent, or around 11,000 employees, as the social media company suffers from falling revenue, a slump in digital advertising and fierce competition from rivals including TikTok.
Facebook said it will continue facilitating Sama’s data labelling services, adding that a new content moderation partner is in place.
“We respect Sama’s decision to exit the content review services it provides to social media platforms.
“We will work with our partners during this transition to ensure there’s no impact on our ability to review content,” Meta’s statement read in part.