Facebook and eBay following agreement to ban trading of fake reviews

UK regulator warned social sites of fake reviews trading.

Facebook and eBay knocked down hundreds of accounts, generating fake and misleading reviews, according to a report by Britains’ Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

About six months ago, CMA identified “troubling evidence” for fake and misleading online reviews. After struggling from the past eight months, CMA had collected evidence about 100 listing on eBay and 26 groups on facebook that were hiring people to write fake reviews. 

Addressing the UK regulator concerns, and following the agreement that both US tech companies had last year with CMA, Facebook has removed 188 groups and 24 user accounts. Similarly, eBay has permanently blocked 140 users. 

Both companies had to act after finding the evidence of these groups and users’ involvement in a paying task for writing and selling fake reviews for products or shopping experiences.

Research reveals that about 75% of customers go through reviews before a new buying and believe in the review discussion more than the company advertisement. People deem that the user-generated content is why more genuine than brands’ marketing campaigns that are prepared from a selling point of view. 

“Fake reviews are damaging to shoppers and businesses alike,” The Chief Executive of the CMA, Andrea Coscelli, explained in a statement. “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,” he added.

The regulatory authorities also emphasized that “it’s not alleging Facebook or eBay are intentionally allowing the proliferation of misleading scores.”

Both US tech giants are determined to work further on detecting and removing such fake accounts. Fake reviews are used by companies to boost their sales, or they use them to downsize competitors’ sales by generating false queries about them. 

READ: Sonos sues Google for copying smart speakers technology

Such fake practices manipulate consumers, misguide them, and considered illegal under Consumer Protection Law. 

Facebook has participated by “investing heavily” to cease trading of fake reviews and said that “we know there is more work to do and are working with the CMA to address this issue.” 

CMA highlighted further that a “new examples” is also captured on Facebook’s Instagram concerning selling fake reviews, and reported to concerns for further investigation. Facebook has pledged to do more to further tackle accounts behind such activities.

Furthermore, eBay’s spokesperson also said, “We maintain zero tolerance for fake or misleading reviews and will continue to take action against any seller that breaches our user policies.”

Featured image: Adam Berry/Getty

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