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Theorising and analysing digital labour: From global value chains to modes of production | Fuchs | The Political Economy of Communication
"Corporate social media (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Weibo, Blogspot, LinkedIn etc.) all use a business model that is based on targeted advertising that turns users’ data (content, profiles, social networks and online behaviour) into a commodity. Commodities have producers who create them, otherwise they cannot exist. So, if the commodity of internet platforms is user data, then the process of creating this data must be considered to be value-generating labour. Consequently, this type of internet usage is productive consumption or prosumption in the sense that it creates value and a commodity that is sold. Dallas Smythe’s concept of the audience commodity has been revived and transformed into the concept of the internet prosumer commodity (Fuchs, 2012). Digital labour creates the internet prosumer commodity that is sold by internet platforms to advertising clients. They in return present targeted ads to users.

Digital labour on “social media” resembles housework because it has no wages, is mainly conducted during spare time, has no trade union representation, and is difficult to perceive as being labour. Like housework it involves the “externalization, or ex-territorialization of costs which otherwise would have to be covered by the capitalists” (Mies, 1986: 110). The term ‘crowdsourcing’ (Howe, 2009) expresses exactly an outsourcing process that helps capital to save on labour costs. Like housework, digital labour is “a source of unchecked, unlimited exploitation” (Mies, 1986: 16). Slaves are violently coerced with hands, whips, bullets—they are tortured, beaten or killed if they refuse to work. The violence exercised against them is primarily physical in nature. Houseworkers are also partly physically coerced in cases of domestic violence. In addition, they are coerced by feelings of love, commitment and responsibility that make them work for the family. The main coercion in patriarchal housework is conducted by affective feelings. In the case of the digital worker, coercion is mainly social in nature. Large platforms like Facebook have successfully monopolised the supply of certain services, such as online social networking, and have more than a billion users. This allows them to exercise a soft and almost invisible form of coercion through which users are chained to commercial platforms because all of their friends and important contacts are there and they do not want to lose these contacts. Consequently, they cannot simply leave these platforms."
digitalLabour  capitalism  computers  technology  minerals  Congo  manufacturing  China  software  development  India  callCentres  SiliconValley  socialMedia  work  labour  businessModels  advertising  dctagged  dc:creator=FuchsChristian 
september 2014 by petej

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