News from Trustpilot on businesses who solicit fake reviews.
Leading reviews platform Trustpilot today announces plans to step up enforcement against businesses who repeatedly break the rules by soliciting fake and misleading online reviews. The approach will see litigation filed against a number of ‘bad actor’ businesses abusing online reviews in an effort to mislead consumers.
Trustpilot invests considerable resources to uphold the integrity of its platform. In 2020 alone, the company removed 2.2m+ fake reviews from its site – 5.7 percent of reviews submitted to the platform that year. Improvements in automated fraud, enforcement and anomaly detection technologies, which safeguard the platform from misuse, have also been introduced following investment in a growing research and development centre in Edinburgh, Scotland. Trustpilot’s litigation strategy is the next phase in its commitment to protecting and promoting trust online – including tackling fake and misleading reviews.
The platform will issue legal proceedings against repeat offenders, seeking orders to block them from soliciting fake reviews and for recovery of damages. Trustpilot has committed to donating proceeds from litigation to organisations which work to protect consumers from misinformation online.
Carolyn Jameson, Chief Trust Officer at Trustpilot said: “Consumers rely heavily on reviews to make more informed and confident purchasing decisions each and every day. Protecting and promoting trust is fundamental to Trustpilot’s mission. Whilst the vast majority of businesses use reviews constructively to help get them closer to their customers, we’re prepared to do everything within our power to clamp down on the small minority who do not behave as they should, and instead use fake and misleading reviews to take advantage of consumers – often those consumers who are particularly vulnerable.”
The platform has also made strides to increase consumer protection by introducing and placing warning banners on the profiles of businesses which are subject to regulatory attention.
Tim Weller, Chair of the Truspilot’s Board, said: “Trust underlies everything in today’s world. Without it, nothing works. In its mission to become a Universal Symbol of Trust, Truspilot’s reviews play a vital role in nurturing trust between consumers and businesses. Our Board wholeheartedly supports this new enforcement strategy, which has been developed through our Trust and Transparency Committee, including members of the Board. It’s the right thing to do, to protect consumers and the vast majority of businesses who continue to use Trustpilot in the right way.”
Both businesses and consumers agree to follow Trustpilot’s guidelines when using the platform – these state clearly that the solicitation of reviews which are fake or not based on a genuine experience are prohibited. A combination of sophisticated automated fraud detection software, and dedicated Content Integrity and Investigations teams that monitor and assess suspicious content using data from a variety of internal and external sources, helps the platform to confidently take action to prevent misuse. Those who do violate the rules are subject to enforcement actions set out in the company’s Action we Take policy – which includes formal cease and desist notices, public banners on a business’s profile page alerting consumers to misuse, and terminating relationships with businesses – resulting in restricting access to replying and flagging reviews only.