Amazon, Tripadvisor and other companies team up to battle fake reviews while FTC seeks to ban them

New York, October 17

Some of the most used platforms for travel and online shopping said Tuesday they’re going to team up to battle fake reviews.

Amazon, reviews site Glassdoor and Trustpilot as well as travel companies Expedia Group, Booking.com and Tripadvisor said in an announcement they’re launching a coalition that aims to protect access to “trustworthy consumer reviews” worldwide.

Phony reviews have long plagued online marketplaces despite their efforts to eradicate it.

Much of the problem is fuelled by brokers who solicit fake customer reviews through social media platforms, encrypted messaging apps and other channels in exchange for money, free items or other benefits. Brokers can solicit positive reviews to boost sales for businesses or sellers. They can also also post negative reviews for competitors in order to tank their sales.

Last month, Amazon said two review brokers in China were sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison and three years of probation after using messaging apps to advertise and sell fake reviews to Amazon selling accounts.

Becky Foley, Tripadvisor’s vice president for Trust & Safety, said in a statement included in the news release that combating operators behind fake reviews will be “an immediate area of focus” for the coalition.

“These actors often operate outside of jurisdictions with a legal framework to shut down fraudulent activity, making robust cooperation even more important,” Foley said.

The companies said the coalition is a result conversations that came out of a “Fake Reviews” conference that was organized by Tripadvisor and held last year in San Francisco. They said they will meet in early December at a second conference that will be organised by Amazon and held in Brussels.

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