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The emergence of algorithmic solidarity: unveiling mutual aid practices and resistance among Chinese delivery workers

Yu, Zizheng, Trere, Emiliano ORCID: and Bonini, Tiziano 2022. The emergence of algorithmic solidarity: unveiling mutual aid practices and resistance among Chinese delivery workers. Media International Australia 183 (1) , pp. 107-123. 10.1177/1329878x221074793

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This study explores how Chinese riders game the algorithm-mediated governing system of food delivery service platforms and how they mobilize WeChat to build solidarity networks to assist each other and better cope with the platform economy. We rely on 12 interviews with Chinese riders from 4 platforms (Meituan, Eleme, SF Express and Flash EX) in 5 cities, and draw on a 4-month online observation of 7 private WeChat groups. The article provides a detailed account of the gamification ranking and competition techniques employed by delivery platforms to drive the riders to achieve efficiency and productivity gains. Then, it critically explores how Chinese riders adapt and react to the algorithmic systems that govern their work by setting up private WeChat groups and developing everyday practices of resilience and resistance. This study demonstrates that Chinese riders working for food delivery platforms incessantly create a complex repertoire of tactics and develop hidden transcripts to resist the algorithmic control of digital platforms.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (
Publisher: Sage
ISSN: 1324-5325
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 11 January 2022
Date of Acceptance: 30 December 2021
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2024 08:07

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