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.

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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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james_fudgeCharity starts at home ;)07/07/2015 - 2:49pm
james_fudgeSo mandatory charity? That sounds shitty to me07/07/2015 - 2:49pm
E. Zachary KnightGoth, if Union dues are automatically withdrawn, then there is no such thing as a non-union employee.07/07/2015 - 2:38pm
Goth_Skunka mutually agreed upon charity instead.07/07/2015 - 2:33pm
Goth_Skunkyou enjoy the benefits of working in a union environment. If working in a union is against your religious beliefs or just something you wholeheartedly object to, dues will still be deducted from your pay, but you can instruct that they be directed towards07/07/2015 - 2:33pm
Goth_SkunkBasically, if you are employed in a business where employees are represented by a union for the purposes of collective bargaining, whether or not you are a union member, you will have union dues deducted from your pay, since regardless of membership,07/07/2015 - 2:32pm
Goth_SkunkIt's something that has existed in Canada since 1946. You can read more on it here: http://ow.ly/PiHWR07/07/2015 - 2:27pm
Goth_SkunkSee, we have something similar in Canada, called a "Rand Employee." This is an employee who benefits from the collective bargaining efforts of a union, despite not wanting to be a part of it for whatever reason.07/07/2015 - 2:22pm
Matthew Wilson@info depends on the sector. for example, have you looked at how powerful unions are in the public sector? I will make the argument they have too much power in that sector.07/07/2015 - 12:39pm
InfophileIt's easy to worry about unions having too much power and causing harm. The odd thing is, why do people seem to worry about that more than the fact that business-owners can have too much power and do harm, particularly at a time when unions have no power?07/07/2015 - 12:31pm
Matthew Wilsonthe thing is unions earned their bad reputation in the US. the way unions oparate the better at your job you are, the likely you want to be in a union.07/07/2015 - 11:33am
InfophilePut that way, "right to work" seems to have BLEEP-all to do with gay rights. Thing is, union-negotiated contracts used to be one of the key ways to prevent employers from firing at will. Without union protection, nothing stops at-will firing.07/07/2015 - 11:06am
Infophilehas an incentive to pay dues if they're represented either way, so the union is starved for funds and dies, unless things are bad enough that people will pay dues anyway.07/07/2015 - 11:02am
InfophileFor those who don't know, "right to work" laws mean that it can't be a condition of an employment contract that you pay union dues. That is, the right to work without having to pay dues. Catch is, unions have to represent non-members as well, so no one...07/07/2015 - 11:01am
MechaCrashUnexpected? Seriously?07/07/2015 - 10:55am
Mattsworknamejob they wanted without the unions getting involved. The problem is, it has some unexpected side effects, like the ones Info mentioned07/07/2015 - 8:49am
MattsworknameThe problem being, right to work states exsist specificly as a counter to Unions, as the last 20 or so years have shown, the unions have been doing this countries economoy NO favors. The right to work states came into being to allow people to work any07/07/2015 - 8:49am
Infophile(cont'd) discriminatory. This can only be done for protected classes which are outlined in law (race, sex, religion, ethnicity everywhere, sexual orientation in some states). So, a gay person could be fired because they're gay and have no recourse there.07/07/2015 - 7:27am
Infophile@Goth: See here: http://www.snopes.com/politics/sexuality/firedforbeinggay.asp for a good discussion on it. Basically, the problem is that in the US, most states allow at will firing, and it's the burden of the fired person to prove the firing was ...07/07/2015 - 7:25am
Goth_SkunkAssuming that's true, then that is a fight worth fighting for.07/07/2015 - 6:58am
 

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