After Motherboard approached the company to comment, Fiverr removed a number of listings.
A free-lance Fiverr site allows a company to hire a short-term application developer, logo designer or help with their social media accounts. Fiverr is also a place where you can purchase malware to illegally spy on your wife, pay someone to place a GPS tracker in a car, or hire a Fiverr listing from the unlicensed private investigator.
The news shows that the struggle to moderate content is not confined to major social networks and platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Other locations, such as Fiverr, have difficulty controlling their platforms. Motherboard has extensively covered the damage that malware uses in abusive relationships, sometimes known as spouseware.
“I have undetectable spyware to monitor your cheating spouse, staffs [sic] and kids gadgets,” One Fiverr listing that Motherboard finds reads. For $5, it appears that customers can buy malware that records keystrokes and visited web sites. For $400, they can purchase software that is supposed to steal passwords and email contents. The quality of the malware available is unclear.
Another listing offers to “covertly deploy [a] tracking device to a vehicle.”
“I will deploy a covert tracking device on a vehicle, test and report to you after 7 days with times and locations indicated by tracker. Range of deployment options,” the listing reads.
The list explicitly states that the tracking could be used to track a partner who is a customer suspected of cheating and that the seller is a company that has divorce “specialists”.
“We can later provide mobile surveillance, video and photographic evidence can be provided,” the listing adds.
Do you work at Fiverr? Do you know anything else about how technology is being used to abuse? We’d love to hear from you. Using a non-work phone or computer, you can contact Joseph Cox securely on Signal on +44 20 8133 5190, Wickr on josephcox, OTR chat on firstname.lastname@example.org, or email email@example.com.
A third Fiverr seller provides investigation services, including to find out whether a spouse is cheating. The services offered include online research and photo or video monitoring. The user of Fiverr says they are not a private investigator licensed. A number of other listings offering similar services were found by Motherboard.
After Motherboard contacted the company for comment, Fiverr removed the listings offering malware and GPS tracking.
“Any gigs that fall under our ‘Illegal or fraudulent services’ violate our terms of service by doing so. Two of the gigs you shared did violate our terms of service in this way and have been taken down, as a result,”
In an email, Fiverr spokesman told Motherboard. Fiverr also appears to have deleted user accounts that offer both services.
Initially, however, Fiverr did not remove the list of non-licensed private investigators.
“The one that wasn’t removed is offering search services that come from public sources, like social media or Google searches,” the spokesperson added.
Motherboard told Fiverr that the listing also provides photo and video monitoring. The spokesperson added that Fiverr had reached the seller and asked them to delete that option; the service would be suspended if they did not, said the spokesperson. After this article has been published, the service listing is no longer available.
“We have an inhouse Trust and Safety Team who work around the clock to respond promptly to any reports of inappropriate content as well as implement extensive manual searches on the site. We encourage our community to report to us when appropriate. Building trust in our platform is very important to Fiverr and this continues to be a priority for our Trust and Safety Team and the company as a whole; we actively tackle every new issue we come across,” they added.