Remotasks Goes Offline In Kenya After It Grabbed Ruto's Attention

The communication indicated that the AI platform had planned to terminate operations on Friday, March 8, which was almost a week ago.

Remotasks Goes Offline In Kenya After It Grabbed Ruto's Attention
President William Ruto (in Kaunda suit) interacting with students at a Jitume lab in Nandi on January 16, 2024. /PCS

Remotasks, an international online tasking platform which thousands of Kenyans had relied on for earning an income to support their livelihoods, was taken offline in the country.

The platform which allows users from all walks of life to complete small, online tasks such as image and video labelling, contributing to the training and development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) models, and making money, now shows an error message following a spot check by Viral Tea.

"Sorry, you have been blocked. You are unable to access," reads the message on the website page.

Screenshot of a website page showing the unavailability of Remotasks in Kenya. /VIRAL TEA KE

On Tuesday, March 12, users in Kenya shared widely an email reportedly sent by the company which announced its plans to cease operations in Kenya.

The communication indicated that the AI platform had planned to terminate operations on Friday, March 8, which was almost a week ago.

"We are reaching out with an important announcement regarding Remotasks operations in your location. We are discontinuing operations in your current location effective March 8, 2024. 

"As part of this change, you have been off-boarded from your current project," read the email in part.

The platform works with different companies to help them form tomorrow's smarter gadgets - from self-driving cars to more intelligent AI systems.

With Remotaskers, the platform helps deliver various outputs to clients that can help them develop their AI projects - this time with the platform's invaluable human input.

"However, unlike other online tasking platforms, Remotasks won't force you to do the same tasks over and over again. Thanks to our continuous stream of orders, our Remotaskers can engage in a wide variety of Tasks - from simple orders to more challenging projects.

"Think of it as making a pizza delivery robot. In the future, we might see pizza delivery robots populate our neighbourhoods - and it’s all thanks to your projects in Remotasks that you can get that Hawaiian pizza," the platform explains on its website.

The latest development comes ironically after President William Ruto endorsed the website after Brian Kipchumba, a student pursuing a diploma in ICT, revealed how he managed to earn more than Ksh27,000 per week.

While at Mosop, in Nandi County on Tuesday, January 16, Ruto engaged Kipchumba who was working part-time online jobs using the government's Jitume ICT Laboratories while continuing with his studies.

The student showed Ruto his workbench indicating that he earned a total of Ksh45,795 (USD 284) for tasks he completed in December through the Remotasks online platform.

"I want to show you my success through the digital platforms and I am still in school," he stated while revealing that he began undertaking the tasks on December 26.

The student added that after taxes, he pocketed Ksh45,000 which he used to sustain himself.

The Head of State appeared impressed by his skills, imploring him to help his administration convince Kenyans that online jobs pay very well.

"So I have been trying to explain to Kenyans that it is possible to earn in digital jobs. So you will help me persuade young people that there are opportunities in digital jobs," Ruto appealed to Kipchumba.

However, the little exercise and showing Ruto how Remotasks works sparked mixed reactions from Kenyans in various quarters, with some stressing the importance of gatekeeping such platforms.

N.B: Gatekeeping is the activity of controlling, and usually limiting, general access to something.

Example: A supermarket's cultural gatekeeping has served to narrow the mainstream for entertainment offerings

Image of the Remotasks platform. /REMOTASKS