Major platforms for travel and online shopping, including Amazon, Glassdoor, Trustpilot, Expedia Group, Booking.com, and Tripadvisor, have united to combat fake reviews by launching a new coalition. The group, named the “Coalition for Trusted Reviews,” aims to protect access to reliable consumer reviews globally. The members will work together to establish best practices for hosting online reviews, define criteria for identifying fake reviews, and share information on the tactics employed by malicious actors.
Fake reviews have long been a problem on online marketplaces, often driven by brokers who offer fake customer reviews through various channels in exchange for financial incentives, free products, or other benefits. These brokers can provide positive reviews to boost sales for businesses or post negative reviews to harm their competitors.
Amazon, for example, recently took legal action against review brokers in China who used messaging apps to sell fake reviews to Amazon selling accounts. The company has filed numerous lawsuits in the past year against operators engaged in similar activities and sued administrators of over 10,000 Facebook groups that were allegedly coordinating fraudulent reviews.
To address the issue, federal regulators have also been pursuing measures to crack down on deceptive reviews. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed a new rule in June that would prohibit businesses from selling or acquiring fake reviews, suppressing genuine reviews, and selling fake social media engagement. The rule would also prevent businesses from controlling websites that falsely claim to offer independent opinions about their products and engaging in practices like “review hijacking.”
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The coalition is a direct outcome of discussions initiated at a “Fake Reviews” conference organized by Tripadvisor in San Francisco last year. The companies plan to convene again at a second conference to be held in Brussels in early December, organized by Amazon, to further address the issue of fake reviews. Becky Foley, Tripadvisor’s Vice President for Trust & Safety, highlighted the importance of combating those behind fake reviews, particularly those operating outside of legal jurisdictions. She emphasized the need for robust cooperation to tackle this problem.