Much of the existing research on platform work has focused on the role of data and algorithmic management. These new techniques of management need to be critically understood, but there is a risk of overemphasizing the importance and power of these techniques. The obscuring processes of data collection and analysis make it hard to comprehend how data is being used in practice. Less is known about the ways in which workers are resisting these methods, as well as developing new forms of organization that can effectively build on this. This article reflects on the practices of algorithmic management in platform work, considering the limitations of this approach. It considers the ways in which data is, and can be, used in platform work, drawing attention to the limits. While algorithmic management and the collection of data serve a role for capital in platform work—and are increasingly finding broader applications—the article argues that is crucial that research does not lose sight of the role and agency of workers against capital.

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