Wolt publishes algorithmic transparency report

In February 2022, the Finnish food, grocery and retail delivery service company Wolt published a report on algorithmic transparency. The report was published in reaction to the draft declaration on digital rights and principles for everyone in the EU put forward by the European Commission. This declaration states that for better usage of AI applications and improved protection against possible threats to health, safety and fundamental rights, it is important to allow users and customers to make informed choices in digital environments. 

The report lays out the different algorithms used for managing operations through the platform. The task algorithm assigns tasks to couriers based on their proximity to the pick-up locations, their vehicle type and their current activity status. According to the report, the platform does not use any ranking or rating mechanisms to determine which courier is offered a task. A task is passed on to another courier in case it is either declined or has not received any response in 60 seconds. Couriers are allowed to change their minds after accepting a task without sanctions. The workers are paid per delivery while the rate increases with the distance that must be covered in order to perform the delivery. Wolt also aims to rule out discrimination. Therefore, couriers are completely anonymised, no personal data on the number of rejected tasks and speed of delivery are gathered, and competition is kept low as tasks are only offered to one courier at a time. 

However, couriers have previously criticised Wolt for low remuneration and the fact that delivery routes are measured by airline instead of taking into account the actual route, which negatively affected payments per distance. Also, couriers accused Wolt of missing out on consulting its workers on important matters. 

Metadata

  • Initiative
  • Code of conduct, standards
  • Finland
  • Platform
  • Yes
  • transport
  • On-location platform-determined routine work
  • Wolt
  • algorithm, autonomy and control, discrimination, information asymmetry, platform characteristics and business model
  • 2022
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