Who is really to blame for clickworkers?
The clickers, or whoever made them click? (*)
The “Clickworkers” are the people who, for a small amount of money, spend their whole day in their living room liking, watching and generally clicking on social media posts and videos, in order to inflate their visibility and profitability (economic or not, as in the case of political content). In 2019 some researchers investigated this “business”, and presented their conclusions in a talk titled “Inside the Fake Like Factories”. Some highlights of that research are that (in Germany):
- political clickfarming is used by, or otherwise impacts on, all parties, but only at the local level
- clickworkers earn between 15 and 450 Euros per month
- fake or clickwork-related accounts on Facebook are many more than “regular” accounts
But the most interesting (for the wrong reasons) conclusion seemes to be the assertion that “clickworkers are only hyperactive users, and they are selling their hyperactivity”.
Get it? The problem is not the a system that makes it attractive, and often unavoidable for people to get some bucks to survive by by means that destroys public rationality and ability to deliberate. The problem is people who can’t even buy (of course) the right drugs to relax themselves.
Other research in the same (general) area
Whoever lives in this age and has access to the Internet, or lives in a place where most people do, would be better off by knowing a bit more about this whole clickworking “business”. The full talk of those researchers is embedded below, but for completeness, here are some interesting links about several sides of this phenomenon, both in Europe and Asia:
- Crowdsourced Production of AI Training Data (about people who “teach self-driving cars how to see”)
- Exploitation des travailleurs du clic)
- The “like” economy: Who are behind the illicit click farms shaping your social media feeds?
- Troll Accounts and Fake NewsProduction in the Philippines.
- Micro-Travail En France
The full talk
(*) this post summarizes some of the points and links read in a discussion on the NEXA mailing list in December 2019. Sincere thanks to the contributors to that discussions for making me discover all the works cited above!
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