The Mozilla Festival House in Kenya has become a vital platform for diverse communities to come together and engage in discussions, debates, and connections surrounding some of the most critical issues impacting the region.
A central focus of these dialogues has been the role of technology in perpetuating social injustices across Africa. At the inaugural Mozilla Festival House in Kenya, the event saw participants share ideas on practical solutions to pressing concerns, notably the concept of digital extractivism.
Global content moderation unions
Attendees explored ideas such as the establishment of global content moderation unions. They also advocated for fair and equitable wages in the tech industry, and forging strong solidarity within digital labor movements.
The gathering brought together policymakers, technologists, and activists who delved into the profound impact of emerging technologies, like Artificial Intelligence (AI), on the continued marginalization of vulnerable groups across the continent.
Moreover, discussions revolved around the widening gap fostered by extractive data practices.
Bob Alotta, Senior Vice President of Global Programs at Mozilla, underscored the significance of this movement, stating, “Right now, East Africa—and the continent more broadly—is pushing for tech sovereignty. The policymakers, technologists, and activists at MozFest Kenya are on this campaign’s frontlines, actively pursuing an internet where African perspectives and needs are the status quo.”
Chenai Chair, Senior Program Officer at Africa Innovation Mradi, shed light on the core issue of digital extractivism, asserting that it need not be the prevailing norm.
The MozFest House community is challenging exploitative patterns, such as major tech companies outsourcing “lower-value” aspects of the tech value chain, like data annotation and content moderation, to Africa.
Daniel Motaung, Former Facebook Content Moderator, Whistleblower, and Union Mobilizer, highlighted the pivotal role of people in driving solutions concerning labor rights.
Influence change in big tech companies
He stressed the need for unity among digital workers to influence meaningful change in big tech companies. Motaung highlighted that genuine change occurs through regulation and the necessity for a strong, unified global voice advocating for a common cause.
MozFest House Kenya featured a diverse range of over 30 interactive sessions, exploring topics such as the path towards inclusive digital identity, the digital ID movement, and the risks associated with digitizing discrimination through AI.
Mozilla’s broader Africa Innovation Mradi initiative actively supports movements across East and Southern Africa. Its mission is to explore the intersection of technology and society, uplift locally developed innovations and products, ensure technology is inclusive of African voices, and fund research aimed at enhancing tech accountability across the region.