Amazon, TripAdvisor, and Others Collaborate to Combat Fake Reviews as FTC Pursues Ban

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Leading platforms in the realms of travel and e-commerce have made a united stand against the rampant issue of fake reviews. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), alongside review platforms Glassdoor and Trustpilot, as well as prominent travel companies such as Expedia Group,, and TripAdvisor, jointly announced the creation of the “Coalition for Trusted Reviews.” The coalition’s primary objective is to safeguard access to genuine and trustworthy consumer reviews on a global scale.

Members of this coalition will collaborate to establish best practices for hosting online reviews and share insights on detecting fraudulent ones. Their efforts will encompass defining the criteria for fake reviews and sharing intelligence on the tactics employed by malicious actors.

The problem of phony reviews has persistently plagued online marketplaces, fueled in large part by brokers who seek to solicit fake reviews on various platforms through social media channels, encrypted messaging apps, and other means, often in exchange for monetary compensation, free products, or other incentives. These brokers can manipulate reviews to boost the sales of businesses or sellers, or conversely, post negative reviews to sabotage competitors.

Recent actions by Amazon in China demonstrated the extent of this issue when two review brokers were sentenced to prison for using messaging apps to distribute and sell fake reviews to Amazon sellers. Amazon has also initiated a series of lawsuits against operators engaged in similar fraudulent activities. In addition to these efforts, the company filed a lawsuit against the administrators of more than 10,000 Facebook groups that were allegedly orchestrating fake reviews in exchange for money or free merchandise.

The issue extends beyond e-commerce platforms, as Facebook groups facilitating the exchange of reviews for services like Google and Trustpilot were discovered earlier this year by the UK consumer watchdog group “Which?”

Government agencies are also cracking down on deceptive reviews, with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) taking action. In June, the FTC proposed new rules, including prohibitions against businesses selling or acquiring fake reviews, suppressing genuine feedback, and selling fake social media engagement. Violators may face penalties under these regulations.

Becky Foley, Vice President for Trust and Safety at TripAdvisor, expressed a commitment to combating the culprits behind fake reviews and emphasized the importance of international cooperation, as these actors often operate beyond the reach of legal frameworks.

The coalition’s formation emerged from discussions that stemmed from the “Fake Reviews” conference, organized by TripAdvisor last year in San Francisco. The members plan to convene again in December at a second conference, this time organized by Amazon in Brussels.

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