|Wed Sept 2 2020 19:40:46|
Are Marketplaces Surveilling Sellers on Social Media?
By: Ina Steiner
Are online marketplaces surveilling sellers on social media? Thanks to news stories published this week about gig workers, it appears the concept may not be as paranoid as it sounds.
reported Wednesday that Amazon covertly monitored private social media groups used by Amazon Flex workers to discuss their working conditions - including closed Facebook groups, public subreddits, and on Twitter. Some posts were then escalated to internal Amazon teams and company leadership, according to the publication.
The information came from Vice
, another publication, which published an in-depth report on Tuesday that claimed Amazon had "for years had a sophisticated, secret program and team to spy on its workers in closed Facebook groups."
Online sellers have for years voiced their concerns with me about possible repercussions of reporting problems with sites like eBay, with many sellers choosing to remain anonymous. Whether or not those fears were justified, we could see it impacted seller behavior, particularly for those who depended on marketplace sales for part or all of their income.
Some sellers also feared that private groups could become infested with moles - not direct employees, but other sellers who might report back to marketplace employees about the conversations on "nominally private pages."
Do you think twice before speaking frankly about the challenges you face when posting on "private" boards?
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