Online shopping is big business. And with the industry growing at a rapid pace, the number of transactions is increasing year on year.
Many online shoppers rely on reviews and testimonials before making a purchase. In fact, it’s believed that these influence billions of dollars worth of transactions every year.
However, as you may be aware, there is a thriving marketplace for fake reviews. In light of this, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has urged sites like eBay and Facebook to step up their efforts in tackling the sale of fake reviews online, as reports have shown they are a “thriving marketplace” for them.
The CMA recently reported that there were hundreds of listings offering fake product reviews, adding that there’s evidence that there is a thriving marketplace for fake and misleading online reviews”.
Consumer groups have warned that, if action isn’t taken soon, the situation could become even worse, as the number of reviews being offered is on the rise.
According to Caroline Normand, director of advocacy at consumer group Which?, “Writing or commissioning fake or incentivised reviews is in breach of consumer law and can lead to criminal action for the individuals responsible.”
“Online platforms that facilitate the trade of fake reviews also have to take this matter seriously and move past the inefficient whack-a-mole approach of only removing fake reviews and groups after they spring up.”
An eBay spokesperson said: “We have zero tolerance for fake or misleading reviews. We have informed the CMA that all of the sellers they identified have been suspended. The listings have been removed. Listings such as these are strictly against our policy on illegal activity and we will act where our rules are broken.”
A Facebook spokesperson said: “Fraudulent activity is not allowed on Facebook, including the trading of fake reviews. We have removed 24 of the 26 groups and pages that the CMA reported to us yesterday and had already removed a number of them prior to the CMA flagging them to us.”
“We know there is more to do, which is why we’ve tripled the size of our safety and security team to 30,000 and continue to invest in technology to help proactively prevent abuse of our platform.”