Amazon and Google investigated efforts to combat fake reviews | Business news


The competition watchdog has launched an investigation into whether Amazon and Google are making enough efforts to combat fake reviews on their platforms.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said its initial work on the matter, which began a little over a year ago, had raised a number of concerns and was now “gathering more information to determine whether these two companies might act against have violated consumer law by taking inadequate measures to protect buyers “.

The subject is more complicated than it may seem on the surface as it affects the activities of paid review manipulation operators – a bogeyman of consumer groups.

Google’s own rating system is under scrutiny

Which? issued a Report in February who found fake reviews for resold goods Amazon‘s Marketplace were touted to third parties in bulk for as little as £ 5 each.

It also claimed to have discovered 10 websites that also solicit positive reviews in exchange for free products or cash.

The CMA said its formal investigation will examine a number of areas, including “suspicious” behavior where “the same users have reviewed the same range of products or the same store at similar times and there is no link between those products or companies”. .

That work, the regulator added, would extend even if the assessment suggests that the appraiser received a payment or other incentive to write a positive review.

The CMA said it has not yet issued an opinion on whether the companies have violated consumer protection laws, but has the power to make formal commitments and take legal action if necessary if the remedial action it has requested is ignored.

It builds on the actions the CMA has taken over the past year in trading fake reviews that are too Facebook, Instagram and eBay are removing groups and banning individuals from buying and selling fake reviews on their websites.

Commenting on his latest investigation, CEO Andrea Coscelli said, “Our concern is that millions of online shoppers could be misled by reading fake reviews and then spending their money based on those recommendations.

“Likewise, it’s just not fair for some companies to be able to fake 5-star reviews to give their product or service the most prominence while law-abiding companies lose.

“We’re investigating concerns that Amazon and Google haven’t done enough to prevent or remove fake reviews to protect customers and honest businesses. It is important that these technology platforms take responsibility and that we are ready to take action if we find they don’t. “Enough.”

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