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The Brazilian Workers in Amazon Mechanical Turk: dreams and realities of ghost workers

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  • Bruno Moreschi, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil
  • Gabriel Pereira
  • Fabio G. Cozman, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil
Contributing to research on digital platform labor in the Global South, this research surveyed 149 Brazilian workers in the Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT) platform. We begin by offering a demographic overview of the Brazilian turkers and their relation with work in general. In line with previous studies of turkers in the USA and India, AMT offers poor working conditions for Brazilian turkers. Other findings we discuss include: how a large amount of the respondents affirmed they have been formally unemployed for a long period of time; the relative importance of the pay they receive to their financial subsistence; and how Brazilian turkers cannot receive their pay directly into their bank accounts due to Amazon restrictions, making them resort to creative circumventions of the system. Importantly, these “ghost workers” (Gray & Suri, 2019) find ways to support each other and self-organize through the WhatsApp group, where they also mobilize to fight for changes on the platform. As this type of work is still in formation in Brazil, and potentially will grow in the coming years, we argue this is a matter of concern.
Original languageEnglish
JournalContracampo – Brazilian Journal of Communication
Volume39
Issue1
Pages (from-to)46-64
Number of pages19
ISSN2238-2577
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • Digital platform labor, digital capitalism, Global South, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Brazil

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