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Social Media and Human Rights


Ethics of Big Data Research Group

Dr Ala'a Shehabi (The Work Foundation)

Big Data underpins the operation of digital platforms which are playing an increasingly important role in managing the supply of labour and setting terms of employment in some sectors of the economy, from transport, to food delivery, to domestic repairs and cleaning. Via smartphone apps, companies such as Uber and Taskrabbit, can relay instructions, allocate tasks and monitor performance of a distributed and apparently disposable workforce. Meanwhile, online 'crowdworking' facilitated by platforms such as Amazon's Mechanical Turk or data enrichment company CrowdFlower, breaks work down into 'microtasks' which can be remunerated by the minute, rather than the hour. This seminar will examine the implications of digitally-enabled "on-demand working" for labour rights and social policy.

Dr Ala'a Shehabi is a senior researcher at The Work Foundation having previously been an analyst at RAND Europe. She has also worked as a researcher and lecturer in the Middle-East and as an analyst in a hedge fund. She has been a visiting fellow at the Arab Council for Social Sciences (2013), Lund University (2014), Stanford University (2015) and has been an independent research consultant for the American University of Beirut and Amnesty International.  Her research interests are in development, technology and the future of work. And has worked on projects for the European Commission, the British Academy, AT&T, Department for Culture, Media and Sport amongst others.

She has a PhD in econometrics from Imperial College London, an MSc in economics and finance from Warwick University and a BSc in economics and statistics from University College London.


Open to all but Registration is required, further information will be available soon.

Organised by Ethics of Big Data Research Group in collaboration with The Work Foundation and InformAll.

Part of the Ethics of Big Data Research Group, series

Administrative assistance:

Image: Fernanda B. Viégas (User activity on Wikipedia) [CC BY 2.0]

Monday, 31 October, 2016 - 14:00 to 16:00
Event location: 

About this website

This is the website for Ella McPherson's work related to her 2014-17 ESRC-funded research project, Social Media, Human Rights NGOs, and the Potential for Governmental Accountability.