Writing fake reviews is new business model on Facebook and eBay
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has found troubling evidence that there is a thriving marketplace for fake and misleading online reviews.
After web sweeps performed in the period November 2018 to June 2019, the CMA was concerned about over 100 eBay listings offering fake reviews for sale.
It also identified 26 Facebook groups in total where people offered to write fake reviews or businesses recruited people to write fake and misleading reviews on popular shopping and review sites.
It is estimated that over three-quarters of UK internet users consider online reviews when choosing what to buy.
Billions of pounds of people’s spending is influenced by reviews every year.
Fake and misleading reviews not only lead to people making poorly informed choices and buying the wrong products, but they are also illegal under consumer protection law.
The CMA is not alleging that Facebook or eBay are intentionally allowing this content to appear on their websites.
Since the CMA wrote to the sites, both have indicated that they will cooperate and Facebook has informed the CMA that most of the 26 groups have been removed.
The CMA welcomes this, and expects the sites to put measures in place to ensure that all the identified content is removed and to stop it from reappearing. ■