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What Is the EU AI Act (2023), Why Fiverr's Probably Annoyed About It, and Why You Might Just LOVE It


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tl:dr: No. I already clickbaited you in here to read about boring legal stuff. I won and you lost. Deal with it. 

So, most people probably aren't aware of the EU AI Act - or don't care about it - but it may become highly relevant in the near future, like GDPR or DAC7. Behold the EU, a simple trade union turned interfering busy-body gravy train all up in everybody's business, all the time. 

It hasn't been thingied into law yet, due to the EU being complicated (see: gravy train). But when it is  - probs in the next 2-4 years - Fiverr's going to have to abide by this, which means you, dear AI-loving freelancer, will also have to abide by it. 

In a nutshell the act translates into "if you use AI, tell people that you use AI. And no sneaky tricks that end up hurting people". 

Here is a really boring article from the EU about it. Because it's really boring and I didn't feel like reading it, I asked ChatGPT to summarize it and note how this could impact freelancers and freelance platforms. I then snipped it down, and, of course, magically humanized it with a lot of frail human judgement. Which also happily counts as a full and transparent disclosure.  

So, for Fiverr:

  • It should ensure tools that freelancers use for their AI should be safe not dodgy, as well as its own tools that it uses on freelancers
  • Platforms that use AI to matchmake clients with freelancers need to comply with the AI Act, including fundamental rights impacts assessments, transparency and accountability. (poor old broken Neo)
  • Support for innovation, primarily focused on increasing productivity and job opportunities (idk)

There are also penalties related to hurting consumer trust

  • "Significant fines based on global annual turnover" which can be avoided by prioritizing AI safety and compliance
    • I had a quick look at a website that told me Fiverr was just shy of a $1 billion in something or other.
    • Violations of (using?) banned AI applications: €35m or 7% of global annual turnover, whichever is higher
    • Violations of Act's Obligations: €15m or 3% global annual turnover, whichever is higher
    • Not supplying correct info about AI: €7.5m or 1.5% of global annual turnover, whichever is higher
      • Presumably these apply not just to Fiverr, but also allowing the platform's sellers to violate them

Fiverr fixing everything to be compliant will necessarily involve cleaning up the marketplace.

So what could this mean for sellers?

  • Disclose use of AI: Fiverr may add a check box to gigs, which then adds some disclosure box on the gig page and/or categories
  • Differentiation: On Fiverr, this might equate to AI and human listings. "Accidentally" putting your gig in the wrong section? 
    • These already exist. Last time I looked, the AI writing/editing gigs, they weren't doing very well... 
  • No Copyright: Broad legal consensus today says AI stuff cannot be copyrighted. Sellers should be careful of claims, or... you guessed it.
    • There are a ton of "I do my own work" AI "artists" and article "writers" who no longer plagiarize, but use generative AI
      • Caveat emptor, obviously. Fiverr's AI policy does already have penalties against sellers who mislead. 
        • But also puts onus on buyers to ask, which is hardly good for consumer trust. WHY did Fiverr dump their original disclosure requirements?
          • The answer seems obvious, but this is exactly the sort of thing that leads to the AI Act and "global standards for AI"
  • No bad AI tools: If you use a "high-risk" AI tool, the EU will be unhappy with you
    • "High risk" is more of concern to Fiverr, really, since the high risk is generally might AI harm people when doing its thing?
      • I point y'all to Fiverr's incredibly high over-reliance on AI automation to drive decisions like:
        • Autobans and completely inadequate and vague template messages about "u violated tos lol"
          • Fiverr CS potentially relying on AI to deliver that first message template, which rarely addresses the issue 
    • For sellers with AI gigs, it would be more on the programming and dev side of things:
      • Education (developing a personalized learning course using AI to determine the personalization)
      • Business tools (creating an AI tool that XYZ. All of Google's YMYL categories/criteria should apply here) 
      • Basically if it's bad for people, you probably shouldn't sell or do it

ChatGPT also took pains to remind me that I - and you - should stay up-to-date with the ever-evolving yadda yadda compliance blah to ensure waffle.

The Juicy Stuff: Is Fiverr's Headache Is Sellers' Gain?

Fiverr's algorithm is a kind of AI, I would argue, or at least it has had all these bits of AI glued onto it over the years. Here's what the EU won't like:

  • Badly-designed matchmaking algorithms
    • Esp. if leading to unfair treatment/discrimination
  • Auto-grading/Reviews:
    • See: "Value for Money" causing 4.7 in current emoji review beta test if, IDK, not clicked or whatever
      • Basically, systems must be accurate and transparent so they don't unfairly impact ratings/reputation
  • Content moderation (gig descriptions, images, etc)
    • Incorrect flagging/removal of gigs could be no bueno
      • Fiverr appears to have issues with AI false flag detections at the moment based on complaints
  • Ranking Systems
    • Moar transparency if AI determines placement and visibility

As you can see, this is really more of a potentially tough piece of gristle for Fiverr to chew on than freelancers. All Fiverr sellers really need to do is be honest about when they use AI and continue with other best practices, and the EU does leave leeway between "production" use of AI and "final product" use of AI. Fiverr, on the other hand, which has increasingly relied on AI to do so many things, is likely to have some headaches. OTOH, since many of their AI solutions are apparently outsourced to third parties, we may see the site be a lil' buggy due to various "fixes" for compliance breaking other AI thingummies. 

And perhaps Fiverr Neo won't be allowed to Clippy its way into our inboxes forever after all. 

So Fiverr, are you going to dump that stupid emoji review test now? Here's a tip from a Pro: downgrade all profile overall reviews by 1 point. So a 5.0 profile becomes 4.9, a 4.9 becomes 4.8 and so on. Have a 2-month amnesty on account demotions (oh hey, another stupid AI system with hidden metrics that definitely won't meet the EU's transparency requirements) to make everyone 0.01% less mad. It's way more transparent, far more fair, and still has plenty of silliness in it to annoy people. Perfect, really.

So, do you love the EU, hate it, or have a love-hate relationship with it? Fiverr and any of its tax-evading EU sellers have already had to deal with DAC7 this year 🙂 

Bonus unnecessary and suggestive video footage of former EU bigwig Jean-Claude Juncker constantly being drunk on the job below: 



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59 minutes ago, emmaki said:


  • See: "Value for Money" causing 4.7 in current emoji review beta test if, IDK, not clicked or whatever

In the screenshot in the thread about it it showed 4.5 stars there.

Though I think they said that was just made up screenshots or something. I don't know if it's actually doing something like that to the actual reviews when created. I assume not (though if a particular variable isn't getting set (eg. recommend to a friend) maybe it could put anything there if it's not initialising it or checking values properly. So on the new system if it works it should only output ratings in 0.5 increments, not 0.33 ones).

There hasn't been much transparency of how Neo works so far. Just about how to use it. It's also not mentioned in the current Fiverr Privacy Policy.

I agree they should do something about the false flags on gigs/accounts due to their AI-type algorithms. It shouldn't automatically flag people and give them warnings and should give full reasons if they are flagged and give them proper ways to dispute them and shouldn't flag sellers for things their buyer did (eg. re-using the same text in reviews).

edit: Also, if a seller used AI for small things (like spelling check or grammar check) I don't see why they'd necessarily need to detail that. eg. "I use ChatGPT to check spelling/grammar" since it should be no different to using apps like grammarly.

Edited by uk1000
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That comment was based on recent-ish r/Fiverr post in which a few sellers were complaining about getting 4.7 stars and the "value for money" button being pointed at as the culprit (at least one seller had just asked their buyer outright). Still, whether buyers left the review they intended to or not, hasn't Fiverr said somewhere that the public rating doesn't matter as much as the private rating? As a hidden metric among other hidden metrics, it is feeding into the algorithm. 

So, there's the transparency thing. I'm sure all sellers agree that we should have a right to see these if they're going to determine gig/account visibility in the near/medium future, just as much as the systems causing false flags need major recalibration along with the whole process of notification and appeals. And perhaps new seller account approval, which seems to be leaning on the side of strict if the comments on reddit are anything to go by

26 minutes ago, uk1000 said:

There hasn't been much transparency of how Neo works so far. Just about how to use it. It's also not mentioned in the current Fiverr Privacy Policy

VentureBeat reckons Google Bard might have something to do with it based on the Neo icon. That article was written in August 2023 and focuses on the promo video. There's also this nice bit of overselling from Kaufman: 


“It works with you to understand your requirements and preferences, then provides a very personalized and accurate matching experience,” Kaufman elaborated. “This can be particularly helpful for more complex projects that require multiple skills and expertise. Think of Neo as an expert with the depth of knowledge that makes it possible to pick a very specific selection of freelancers with the most relevant expertise, experience and availability to best meet the customer’s needs. It offers the customer the right amount of guidance, selection and control. It is a game changer in how talent matching is being done today.”

Given that Neo apparently has the ability to remember past conversations (I feel this needs to be tested in a month or two after the original conversation), that would suggest that there needs to be something in the Privacy Policy about it. Still, perhaps the current PP covers the bare essentials for now so there's no need for an explicit Neo policy until the law demands it. But yeah, people should be able to find out how long Neo remembers the convo and perhaps have a "forget everything" button for when they're finished with Neo if they want that.   

There's also this in the Q3 2023 report. Emphasis mine: 


Excitement around our cutting edge AI matching tool, Fiverr Neo™, has also been extremely high and we have already expanded our rollout beyond our initial waitlist to allow more users the chance to experience an entirely new way to express their needs and be matched with the right talent. For example, we had a transport supplier who made their first purchase on our platform thanks to the help they received from Neo™. FIVERR NEO™ - A BRAND NEW MATCHING EXPERIENCE Instead of a typical search and browse catalog experience, a buyer looking to build a website was able to create a brief that better expressed his needs based on his conversation with Fiverr Neo™. Neo™ also provided the buyer with a recommended freelancer that best matched his requirements, who the buyer immediately contacted. 

The buyer was able to express their specific needs, such as budget, programming language, and desired functionality, for developing an institutional, mobile-friendly website. The buyer then worked with the first seller that Neo™ recommended to perform the service. We are thrilled by these early results, which demonstrate a completely new search-to-find e-commerce experience on our platform. Our team continues to refine the neural networks technologies powering Neo™ and have dramatically improved processing speed of our matching algorithm to serve more users.

So, that "dramatically improved processing speed", huh. That might mean it's faster... but it might also mean that it does more processing of more data in the same time it used to process less data... 

All in all, it seems to me like Fiverr is over-reliant on overly-enthusiastic AI systems to manage the marketplace and that quite a lot of those tools are not being used well, never mind with transparency.

Take hidden metrics. What if some of the hidden metrics are hidden because they simply wouldn't be accepted if they were leaked? It has never made sense to me that some important metric I can use to judge my current standing/performance to work/improve on it is hidden from me. Fiverr has too many sellers, and in a 5-star marketplace, it may help the algo to make differentiations and placements based on deliberately negative trackers with no real positives, that sort of thing. The only thing I could think of off the top of my head would be a low price penalty, but arguably Fiverr's been quite transparent about not wanting too-cheap gigs anymore by forcing thresholds in some categories. The workaround? Custom orders. These custom orders could - in theory - alert some system that a seller is consistently charging less than their listing price, with some sort of unseen, unknown penalty. 

OTOH, there might be ways to game this positively through Fiverr Anywhere custom orders (via inbox) tricking the algo into thinking you're bringing a new customer on-site, which is a good thing, especially if the buyer stays on-platform to make further purchases. The algo may then give preferential treatment, since despite the lower pricing, the newly-acquired customer is valuable (and there's no need to pay an affiliate, either - IIRC FA doesn't really offer any benefits like no commissions. It's also a very old feature, which is why I'm wondering if it might be an algo backdoor).  

All in all, I'm really hoping the AI Act will force Fiverr to be more transparent on how so many of its things work. 

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3 hours ago, emmaki said:

if you use AI, tell people that you use AI.

GOOD. When Fiverr first started to permit AI gigs, this was actually in the Community Standards. Sadly, they removed it. Now they put the burden of responsibility on the Buyer. 


Buyers should communicate their preference with sellers

When considering services that may or may not use generative AI tools or programs, buyers with a preference for work created and/or delivered without the use of generative AI tools or programs, should clearly communicate this preference to the seller. 

Source: https://www.fiverr.com/community/standards/ai-generated-content

3 hours ago, emmaki said:

downgrade all profile overall reviews by 1 point. So a 5.0 profile becomes 4.9, a 4.9 becomes 4.8 and so on.

I wasn't around for the transition from the thumbs up/down to the on-a-scale-of-one-to-five, but this thought often pops up in my headspace. If those profiles had 'started' at less-than-perfect five stars, would we have nearly as many people so very afraid to loose their perfect score today?

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I was really surprised when they changed that rule. I felt it was a very anti-consumer policy that really only gave them any rights if the seller deliberately lied about it in their profile and/or conversation pre-delivery. Post-delivery? You should have asked

Here's an archive of the AI Policy page from May 2023:


The bulk one is interesting, because there are now "SEO writers" using AI to bulk-gen articles, although IIRC - I haven't looked at that whole thing lately - they do use the names of the tools they use as they're more or less selling VA for bulk AI writing services to people who need them. If you go on these tools' FB groups, you'll find them bragging about how successful they are while writing in completely broken English and being obnoxiously demanding and/or critical of the creators of the tools for not implementing the thing they want right now (EDIT: all the while hawking for work/spamming while dismaying anyone remotely professional in the group). 

I asked one to produce proof of their wild success on Fiverr once, and they showed me a screenshot of some website written in Indonesian that had the word Fiverr on it quite a lot. 

Digressions into the shadiness of some of the characters selling AI services online aside, it seems that Fiverr really only opted itself out of AI policies that might cost them money (the other categories are noticeably more legally problematic).

1 hour ago, imagination7413 said:

I wasn't around for the transition from the thumbs up/down to the on-a-scale-of-one-to-five

I was. You better believe the sky fell in on the forum every day for weeks as everyone pitched massive 💩 fits about how it would destroy Fiverr sellers, Fiverr, and perhaps turn off the dim lightbulbs in buyers' minds forever as they struggled to comprehend the newfound choice in rating before them. 

It was really hard to get a thumbs down. People either gave a thumbs up or did nothing. The only people with thumbs down were super rubbish. I can't remember if the scores followed over to the 5-star system (I don't think they did... I think it was like one day you got thumbs, the next day it was stars and that's how it showed on the review parts of gigs/profiles). But at that time you were also allowed to ask buyers to change reviews without penalty and I think buyers didn't even need to contact CS. And anyway, because everyone was conditioned to binary reviews and most internet review anyway are only because you really really love something or really really hate it, the status quo continued. All of my "1-star reviews" are from years ago and from people who paid $5 being incredibly demanding, dumb, or deliberately setting out to scam me. Only one of them might have just not bothered with thumbs up due to the force of my wonderful personality. And the cancelled reviews were people who canceled because I was a week late after being six and I didn't prioritize them last in my monster 24-long-queue of late $5 orders nightmare that followed. Why didn't I prioritize them first? They were being all growly about my lateness and I knew they'd probably cancel before I got around to them, and I prefered a generic review compared to what they might write. 

That was also before levels were introduced, so this whole thing cost me nothing and didn't affect me. Ah, the good old days of being a high-volume, cheap as chips seller on a platform where nobody expected much because ew, Fiverr

Honestly, the entire feedback system is a mess of Fiverr changing it, people finding ways to get around it, and Fiverr making things harder for everyone. See: emoji reviews. Fiverr said somewhere on here that 4.9 reviews were better (more trustworthy etc.), so that's clearly what they want. That was after days of posts about how rubbish the idea was. Here's an idea Fiverr. Perhaps you could have led with that and then introduced your bad new idea as a potential solution, rather than the transparency you led with? 

Maybe the EU will get all up in everyone's business about fake online reviews in 2030 🙂 Or question the sensibility of what basically accounts to performance reviews every single month - another AI process with very little oversight, though I know Pro used to be more accommodating here. Now with half of Fiverr made Pro to make the platform look more Pro, I'm a little doubtful that still exists. But maybe that's OK, because that probably falls into the category of discriminatory: the haves get special treatment and passes, the have nots don't get an AI (broadly falling under "big data" and "algorithms")  that doesn't care and a CS with its hands tied and mouths gagged on anything more taxing than providing a link to an irrelevant article. I noticed lately that they're using the "mirroring" technique (basically repeating what the other person just said to appear more friendly and empathic). This is a tactic usually used in conflict resolution and negotiation, Fiverr. Are you trying to tell us something? 

It's such as shame the normally-chatty staff who love to emphasize how transparent they are when chatting to the community about whatever new development nobody wanted, won't touch this topic with a barge pole (I will of course be delighted if any of you can prove me wrong!). There's no transparency and very little accountability. 

I like this new act because since Fiverr's gone super-heavy on the AI, it may force some much-needed change that no amount of community grousing will ever achieve. And please, nobody come here and remind me of the very small walkback they did on the whole cancellation reviews fiasco. That's classic Hegelian dialect: thesis-antithesis-synthesis. Or, in plain English, "introduce an awful version of the thing we want to do so there's massive backlash, then introduce the thing we planned to impalement all along to cheers because of our benevolent, fatherly changes/craven backpeddling in the face of ire". I must admit, I'm looking forward to seeing how that pans out with the new review system, although they'll just claim that their "tests" informed their final decision.  

So if any Fiverr staff would like to chime into this modest thread, welcome. What do you guys think of this AI act? Why did Fiverr change the AI policy? When will Fiverr be announcing whatever finalized horrorshow of review system the beta test will result in? Do you privately think that Fiverr's a little bit overdependent on AI, but perhaps don't want to say anything because, ya know, he's really into it? 

Edited by emmaki
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  • 3 weeks later...
On 1/21/2024 at 8:58 PM, emmaki said:

I was really surprised when they changed that rule. I felt it was a very anti-consumer policy

It's probably because AI is in more and more apps and maybe Fiverr wants it used (though not overused). eg. thousands of sellers might use Grammarly to check/reword content. Grammarly say their system uses AI. Their blog says:


Grammarly’s AI system combines machine learning with a variety of natural language processing approaches. Human language has many levels at which it can be analyzed and processed: from characters and individual words through grammatical structures and sentences, even paragraphs or full texts. Natural language processing is a branch of AI that involves teaching machines to understand and process human language (English, for instance) and perform useful tasks, such as machine translation, sentiment analysis, essay scoring, and, in our case, writing enhancement.

So should all sellers that use Grammarly mention it and mention that it uses (a type of) AI? They also say they use "generative AI" (which chatGPT also uses). AI is also getting added to Adobe's products.

Though Fiverr should still require sellers to say what's used/might be in case so the buyer's know (eg. in case there are copyright reasons/risks, eg. that the output created through just prompts can't be copyrighted, and in case the company who did the training might not have had the full rights). Though maybe when they created their AI categories it was obvious for gigs in there that it would be used and they specify the apps used in those generally (eg. the image generation ones).

Edited by uk1000
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  • 4 weeks later...

It is one thing to create a law, because that creates strong optics. It is quite another to actually enforce it, like immigration laws for example. Most likely politics and business as usual will mean selective enforcement based on ideologies and financial donations. Brussels is every bit "for sale" as Washington.

Edited by newsmike
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On 3/10/2024 at 9:05 PM, newsmike said:

It is one thing to create a law, because that creates strong optics. It is quite another to actually enforce it, like immigration laws for example. Most likely politics and business as usual will mean selective enforcement based on ideologies and financial donations. Brussels is every bit "for sale" as Washington.

The EU's got a knack for laying down the law when there's a payday in sight. This new regulation is another cashcow and you can bet they will enforce it. Cracking down on immigration can be pricey and might create strongly negative optics, depending on the approach. But going up against big tech is another ballgame. People get a kick out of seeing big corps getting knocked down a peg, so whenever the EU slaps a billion-euro fine on Apple, Google, or in the future, freelance platforms who take advantage of their sellers like they're sheep for slaughter in an ever-churning AI algo, you can bet people will just shrug their shoulders and go "I guess they deserve it".

The EU can then pocket that dough and splurge it on the next big thing, whether it's forcing us to drink from coke bottles with glued-on caps (yes, they did that), insisting our takeout comes on fancy porcelain plates we gotta return to the restaurant (yes, they're thinking about it), or dictating the exact temp at which the French can fry their fries (they did that too, and if you don't believe me, read COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) 2017/2158).

Or what about the time they made a law about how bendy a banana can be? Yup, they did that too. The law strictly states that bananas must be "free from malformation or abnormal curvature of the fingers". They've also banned drink manufacturers from claiming that water can prevent dehydration, after investigating the matter for three whole years without finding evidence that proves drinking water prevents dehydration. On the note of food and beverages, they also banned claims that prunes can have a laxative effect. I mean, just in case you'd ever have problems after eating some of our now straight bananas or worse, tried our french fries.

Trust me, they've got ideas, and they need money to make it happen. 


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4 hours ago, smashradio said:

They've also banned drink manufacturers from claiming that water can prevent dehydration, after investigating the matter for three whole years without finding evidence that proves drinking water prevents dehydration.


One universal truth is that we are all ruled by idiots. 

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