Facebook, eBay pledge action on fake reviews

Facebook and eBay have agreed to step up their efforts to spot fake reviews and take them down, amid pressure from the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The CMA says the pledge is a “win for online shoppers” as fake and misleading reviews are illegal under consumer protection law and online retailers have a responsibility to protect their customers from unlawful and harmful content.

It launched a programme to tackle the issue of fake reviews last June, after web sweeps performed between November 2018 and June 2019 revealed more than 100 eBay listings offering fake reviews for sale, whilst identifying 26 Facebook groups for people offering to write or touting for fake reviews.

“In response to the CMA highlighting its concerns about the trade of fake and misleading reviews in the summer, Facebook has removed 188 groups and disabled 24 user accounts, and eBay has permanently banned 140 users,” said the CMA in a statement.

It is estimated that over three-quarters of UK internet users consider online reviews when choosing what to buy, and billions of pounds of people’s spending is influenced by reviews every year.

Facebook and eBay have also committed to putting new measures in place to prevent fake reviews appearing in future, and Facebook has also agreed to investigate fake reviews for products sold on its Instagram platform.

Meanwhile, Facebook has agreed to introduce more robust systems to detect and remove such content, while eBay maintains it has improved its existing filters to better identify and block listings for the sale or trade of online reviews.

“Millions of people base their shopping decisions on reviews, and if these are misleading or untrue, then shoppers could end up being misled into buying something that isn’t right for them – leaving businesses who play by the rules missing out,” commented Andrea Coscelli, CMA chief executive.

The agency says the action is part of a wider programme of work tackling fake and misleading online reviews, which will include looking into the role of review sites.

It stresses it is not alleging that Facebook or eBay are intentionally allowing this content to appear on their websites and says it is pleased that both companies have fully co-operated.

Related articles:

     Want our news sent directly to your inbox?

Yes please 2


Home  |  About us  |  Contact us  |  Advertise  |  Links  |  Partners  |  Privacy Policy  |   |  RSS feed   |  back to top