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Meta fires 200, shuts down East Africa office

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Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, is closing its East African office in Nairobi, Kenya, as a result of changes that its third-party contractor, Sama, announced to its mode of operation.

The company would be shifting away from policing harmful content and concentrating solely on computer vision data annotation, also known as data labelling. The operational changes by Sama would begin in March 2023, after the terms of service for content moderation with Facebook expire.

200 people are expected to be let go from the company as a result of the decision, while numerous others will be without work authorizations.

Sama was initially hired by Meta in 2007 to label data and train its AI; later, its function was moved to content moderation. At the time, Sama employed roughly 1,500 people.

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 move comes two months after Meta declared it will reduce its global workforce by 13%, or roughly 11,000 workers, as the social media business struggles with declining income, a decline in digital advertising, and strong competition from rivals like TikTok.

Facebook stated that it would keep supporting Sama’s data labeling services while announcing the selection of a new content moderation partner.

“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.

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