The down 16,000 groups that had been trading fake reviews — and the CMA expressed disappointment that it had taken Facebook over a year to take meaningful action., the CMA, has opened another investigation into Big Tech — this one targeted at Amazon and Google over how well they handle (or, well, don’t) fake reviews. The Competition and Markets Authority has been interested in online reviews for several years since 2015. It also went after eBay and reviews it found thriving on their marketplaces. After continuing to pressure those platforms, the watchdog was given pledges that they’d do more. In the case of Facebook, it took until April 2021 for it to take
Now the CMA has Amazon and Google in its sites, both of which control platforms hosting user reviews —it will be gathering evidence to determine whether they may have broken UK law by taking insufficient action to protect shoppers from fake reviews. Businesses that mislead consumers or don’t take action to intended to protect consumers from unfair trading. The CMA says its investigation into , which started in May 2020, focused on assessing several platforms’ internal systems and processes for identifying and dealing with fake reviews. That work raised specific giants have been doing enough to:
- Detect fake and misleading reviews or suspicious patterns of behavior. For example, where the same users have reviewed the same range of , and there is no connection between those firms or products, the review suggests that the reviewer has received a payment or other incentive to write a positive review.
- Investigate and, where necessary, promptly remove fake and misleading reviews from their platforms.
- Impose adequate sanctions on reviewers or businesses to deter them and others from posting fake or misleading reviews on their platforms – including those who have published these studies many times.
The regulator also said it’s concerned that Amazon’sand deter some sellers from manipulating product listings” — for example, by co-opting positive reviews from other products. And, who hasn’t been browsing product reviews on Amazon, only to be drawn up short by a reviewer earnestly referring to product attributes that bear no relation to the sale item in question? While the user reviews that pop up on, for example, after a search for a local business can also display ‘unusual patterns‘ of 5-starring (or 1-starring) behavior. Commenting on its investigation into concerns that Amazon and Google are not doing enough to combat the problem of fake reviews, the CMA’s in a statement: