UK regulator CMA launches investigation of Amazon and Google over fake reviews

    (PA Archive)

(PA Archive)

Official check whether Google and Amazon do enough to fight fake reviews on their sites, was revealed today by the competition supervisor

The move from Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) comes a year after it began investigating how industry identifies and deals with fake reviews.

The CMA said today that there are specific concerns about Amazon and Google, including their detection of suspicious patterns of behavior and how quickly they remove misleading feedback and impose sanctions of those responsible.

He is also concerned that Amazon’s systems do not adequately prevent vendors from manipulating product lists, such as by co-opting positive feedback from other products.

When a user finds a business through the Google search engine or Google Maps, the result shows a star rating and a link to all previous reviews. The internet giant tells customers that “there is no tolerance for fake reviews” and that comments are removed if others find them inaccurate or against other policies. The ability to search for Amazon products based on the average customer rating makes the review system especially important for retailers selling on the platform.

CMA CEO Andrea Cocelli said: “We are concerned that millions of online shoppers may be misled by reading fake reviews and then spending their money based on those recommendations.”

If it finds that companies have violated consumer law, the CMA can take enforcement action and escalate to legal action if necessary.

The review has already prompted Facebook, Instagram and eBay to remove groups and ban individuals from buying and selling fake reviews on their sites.

Amazon said: “To gain the trust of customers, we devote significant resources to preventing the occurrence of false or stimulated feedback in our store. We work hard to ensure that reviews accurately reflect the experience customers have had with a product. We will continue to assist the CMA with its inquiries and note its confirmation that no findings have been made against our business. We are relentless in protecting our store and will take action to stop false reviews, regardless of the size or location of those trying to commit this abuse. “

A Google spokesman said: “Our strict policies make it clear that reviews must be based on real experience, and when we find policy violations, we take action – from removing abusive content to deactivating user accounts. We look forward to continuing to work with CMA to share more about how our industry-leading technology and review teams work to help users find relevant and useful information on Google. “

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