Cloud Labor within Social Gaming Facilitating Child Labor?

October 23, 2009 -

An initiative that offers virtual payments for use in social and online games in return for performing tasks may promote child labor speculates a post on ReadWriteWeb.

CrowdFlower, which focuses on harnessing “cloud labor” from around the world and Gambit, a company that specializes in facilitating payment solutions for online games, offer users of games like MyFarm real-world tasks to perform—such as tagging photos or reviewing content—and returns payment in the form of virtual currency.

What caught the eye of ReadWriteWeb was Gambit’s explanation of its latest offering: “…making this a superb way to engage younger users, or international users in emerging markets.”

The article’s author, Dana Oshiro, wrote:

While others might argue that the web-task barter system is akin to earning one's allowance, the fact that children could be scraping the web to help businesses advertise to us seems somewhat exploitative. While it's too early to say how this program will pan out, there's no doubt that CrowdFlower and Gambit will have to walk a fine line to keep this program ethical.

A Gambit employee, Susan Su, jumped into the comment section to provide a little clarity, writing that while Facebook does not “knowingly allow” users under the age of 13 to register, “it's always tough to enforce requirements like these on the Internet.”

Su continued:

That said, we do know that users over the age of 15 make up the bulk of our transactions, and while parental consent is still strongly recommended for people aged 15-18, it's true that a lot of teens are making their own spending and work decisions around that age. As Lukas said, this is completely new territory for social game users, for developers, and for Crowdflower and Gambit.


Comments

Re: Cloud Labor within Social Gaming Facilitating Child ...

...the fact that children could be scraping the web to help businesses advertise to us seems somewhat exploitative. While it's too early to say how this program will pan out, there's no doubt that CrowdFlower and Gambit will have to walk a fine line to keep this program ethical.

Wow, really? 'Could'? They can only do so much. It's like they're saying the first factories of the Industrial Revolution would end up exploiting people (A loose analogy if that, I'll admit) as if it's directly the fault of the machines. Blame the people exploiting the system, not necessarily the system itself.

Re: Cloud Labor within Social Gaming Facilitating Child ...

what the hell is cloud labor?

Re: Cloud Labor within Social Gaming Facilitating Child ...

 "Cloud labor" is the term used for taking a certain task (e.g. data entry), splitting it into small chunks, and asking many people to perform their assigned task in exchange for a small payment.  Basically, you are contracting many people to transcribe a form or something for $0.05 per form rather than hiring an individual for $10/hr.  Of course, you still need to do QA.

 

Re: Cloud Labor within Social Gaming Facilitating Child ...

'Child Labor' has become a bit of a loaded word.

Children are permitted minor employment all the time.  Child labor laws were created to stop the excesses and abuses that you got in the early days that would do things like keep kids out of school or even force them into work.

If a kid wants to make a few bucks in their spare time by providing a service, I do not see that as exploitative.  I think we have gotten a little to far into the 'anything a child does that someone else benefits is exploitation' mentality and completely ignore that these are human beings capable of having their own desires and making their own (with parental supervision) decisions.

Re: Cloud Labor within Social Gaming Facilitating Child ...

Agreed.   The term "child labor" loses all value if it can apply equally to children toiling in some hellish Dickensian textile mill for 70 hours a week and kids making a bit of money fiddling around on the internet in their free time.

Check out my video game humor and commentary blog at http://pointlesssidequest.blogspot.com/!

Check out my video game humor and commentary blog, Pointless Side Quest! http://pointlesssidequest.blogspot.com/

Re: Cloud Labor within Social Gaming Facilitating Child ...

Its like add the word kid or child to it and people stop thinking 0-o


Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


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Re: Cloud Labor within Social Gaming Facilitating Child ...

This isn't something new really. How about amazons www.mechanicalturk.com ? Where you get paid real money instead of fake money for doing tasks. Seems like that would draw in more people. 

Re: Cloud Labor within Social Gaming Facilitating Child ...

Next they will say underagers watching TV/web comercails are working....


Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: Cloud Labor within Social Gaming Facilitating Child ...

Hey! For someone with Carpel Tunnel, pressing the up/down arrows to change the channel could be a very daunting and laborous task...

Re: Cloud Labor within Social Gaming Facilitating Child ...

Calling it "labor" is REALLY stretching the definition to breaking point.

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Andrew EisenOoo, this one came down to the wire! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/749082525/nefarious09/19/2014 - 1:03am
Andrew EisenI don't doubt that many are truly interested in journalistic integrity. The problem I'm often seeing is they seem to have no idea how or where to talk about it.09/18/2014 - 11:46pm
Andrew EisenDidn't word that well. Busy at work. I've seen people claim that GamerGate is solely about ethics and transparency in games journalism and then go on to show that what they're really after is silencing those who talk about gender issues in games.09/18/2014 - 11:45pm
Kronodebate. Becaus apparently people who only post on Reddit are supposed to police twitter before they're allowed to question anything about the people involved.09/18/2014 - 10:40pm
KronoI highly doubt many, if any are using journalistic integrity as a cover for harassment. The people harassing are essentially trolls. They aren't interested in subtle. More often it's othe other way around. People use "but X is being harassed" to shut down09/18/2014 - 10:38pm
Andrew EisenAnd exacerbating everything is the fact that all the cries of ethics violations have been obnoxious and easily proven false.09/18/2014 - 8:59pm
Andrew EisenProblem is, I would imagine, the sheer number of people who are using journalistic integrity as a cover for their harassing actions or only bringing it up on the false pretense of journalistic integrity.09/18/2014 - 8:47pm
Andrew EisenHaving said that, I can certainly see how one would be frustrated if they truly just wanted to talk about journalistic integrity and someone said they were one of the people harassing Sarkeesian, Quinn and others (though I've seen no examples of that).09/18/2014 - 8:44pm
KronoThat's been the common refrain, that talk of journalism ethics is just an excuse to harass people.09/18/2014 - 8:44pm
KronoLines like "like a partial compromise with the howling trolls who’ve latched onto ‘ethics’ as the latest flag in their onslaught against evolution and inclusion." are taring everyone questioning the ethics as a harasser.09/18/2014 - 8:43pm
Andrew EisenKrono - Except, none of the articles were talking about gamers complaining about journalist ethics, let alone called them white male misogynists. They were talking about the gamers who were harassing others.09/18/2014 - 8:36pm
Kronomakes plenty of sense. It's rather hard to dismiss someone as a white guy running a sock puppet when they've posted proof they're a woman, or black, or another minority.09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
Kronothat any critics of journalists were white guys that hated women, and could be dismissed as such. It seems to have helped some. It's kind of difficult to maintain the white guy narrative in the face of a bunch of women and non-white guys. So the tag09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
Kronothat, someone vented on a #gamergate 4chan thread about being dismissed like that. The suggestion they got in return was to organize their own hashtag in response, with #NotYourShield being suggested. Thus the tag came into use to combat the undercurrent09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
Kronomuch more general problem. And while several of the articles were fairly tame, they spured a bunch of people to dismiss any critics of the journalism involved as misogynistic men. Usually with insults aimed at the geek stereotype. After about a week of09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
Andrew EisenSleaker - Not sure what that has to do with anything but yeah, the gender percentages differ depending on how the study defines what a gamer is.09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
KronoThe rhetoric pushed by the spearheading articles that the "gamers" complaining about journalist ethics were just angry white male misogynists, insulted a lot of people that were previously fairly neutral. It made it go from a Kotaku problem, to a09/18/2014 - 8:31pm
Krono@Andrew I'm not surprised overlap exists. I expect much of it is a rush to jump on the bandwagon, either by reporting on the original articles, or rushing out their own. The point is that was a major flashpoint, much bigger than the reddit mass deletion.09/18/2014 - 8:31pm
Sleaker@AE - well the gamer trend was described with stats on Factual Femenist. Only 1 in 7 males plays games 20+ hrs going into college vs 1 in 40 females. So gaming is definitely still male dominated despite fake stats trying to say otherwise.09/18/2014 - 8:30pm
Craig R.Do conspiracies ever make sense? The fact that people are now having to defend themselves against nutjob websites like Breitbart.com shows how far down into the rabbit hole we've all been forcibly dragged.09/18/2014 - 7:05pm
 

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