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      Entrepreneurial Solidarities: Social Media Collectives and Filipino Digital Platform Workers

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      Social Media + Society

      SAGE Publications

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          Abstract

          The article examines the role of social media groups for online freelance workers in the Philippines—digital workers obtaining “gigs” from online labor platforms such as Upwork and Onlinejobs.ph—for social facilitation and collective organizing. The article first problematizes labor marginality in the context of online freelance platform workers situated in the middle of competing narratives of precarity and opportunity. We then examine unique forms of solidarity emerging from social media groups formed by these geographically spread digital workers. Drawing from participant observation in online freelance Facebook groups, as well as interviews and focus groups with 31 online freelance workers located in the cities of Manila, Cebu, and Davao, we found that online Filipino freelancers maintain active social interaction and exchange that can be construed as “entrepreneurial solidarities.” These solidarities are characterized by competing discourses of ambiguity, precarity, opportunity, and adaptation that are articulated and visualized through ambient socialities. While we argue that these entrepreneurial solidarities do not reflect a passive and simplistic acceptance of neoliberal discourses about digital labor by digital workers, the solidarities forged in these groups also work to undermine their resistive potential such that these tend to reinforce rather than impose pressure toward critical structural changes that can improve the viability of digital labor conditions.

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          Migrants for Export

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            Digital labour and development: impacts of global digital labour platforms and the gig economy on worker livelihoods

            As ever more policy-makers, governments and organisations turn to the gig economy and digital labour as an economic development strategy to bring jobs to places that need them, it becomes important to understand better how this might influence the livelihoods of workers. Drawing on a multi-year study with digital workers in Sub-Saharan Africa and South-east Asia, this article highlights four key concerns for workers: bargaining power, economic inclusion, intermediated value chains, and upgrading. The article shows that although there are important and tangible benefits for a range of workers, there are also a range of risks and costs that unduly affect the livelihoods of digital workers. Building on those concerns, it then concludes with a reflection on four broad strategies – certification schemes, organising digital workers, regulatory strategies and democratic control of online labour platforms – that could be employed to improve conditions and livelihoods for digital workers.
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              The Reputation Economy

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                (View ORCID Profile)
                Journal
                Social Media + Society
                Social Media + Society
                SAGE Publications
                2056-3051
                2056-3051
                April 2020
                June 24 2020
                April 2020
                : 6
                : 2
                : 205630512092648
                Affiliations
                [1 ]De La Salle University-Manila, Philippines
                Article
                10.1177/2056305120926484
                © 2020

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