Video clips of life under quarantine are trending on TikTok. Children were presumably glad to be off school -- until, that is, an app called DingTalk was introduced. Students are meant to sign in and join their class for online lessons; teachers use the app to set homework. Somehow the little brats worked out that if enough users gave the app a one-star review it would get booted off the App Store. Tens of thousands of reviews flooded in, and DingTalk's rating plummeted overnight from 4.9 to 1.4. The app has had to beg for mercy on social media: 'I'm only five years old myself, please don't kill me.' [...[
"Thank you so much DingTalk for making me feel the warmth of coronavirus even though I am not in Wuhan," read another one-star verdict. "I am giving you five-stars, but in instalments."
It was designed to appeal to managers, instead of the employees who actually use it. DingTalk promotes unhealthy -- and inefficient -- work-life balance by tempting bosses to monitor employees 24 hours a day and to invade their off-duty time. DingTalk doesn't deserve a pass. It has low ratings because it's a poorly designed app that makes workers' lives worse. [...]
DingTalk is designed around an expectation of 24-hour availability. This is perhaps best illustrated by a rare, and grudging, concession to working parents: Around Mother's Day, 2018, DingTalk introduced "parenthood mode". The temporary feature -- available only from May 10 to May 18 -- muted messages from the workplace and automatically replied "I am with my baby and I will reply later" from 8 p.m.-10 p.m. For one week, DingTalk encouraged working mothers to take two hours offline. How generous! [...]
Controversial technologies like facial recognition are integrated into Clock In/Out as well. The optional "Smiling Clock In/Out" feature is darkly humorous: DingTalk scores the face of employees based on how big their smile is, and later generates a digital poster showing the best-scored smiles to, in the company's words, "thrive happiness in the workplace."