Trustpilot removes millions of fake reviews in fraud crackdown

Consumer site 1.8 million reviews in 2021 – an increase of 19 per cent on 2020’s figures

Rob Knight
Thursday 12 May 2022 11:27
<p>Consumer website Trustpilot, has invested heavily in fraud and anomaly detection software</p>

Consumer website Trustpilot, has invested heavily in fraud and anomaly detection software

Trustpilot has removed some 2.7 million spurious reviews over the last year, in a major clampdown targeting online fakery.

About 46.7 million reviews were left on Trustpilot’s global review platform over that period, with 5.8 per cent taken down after they were found to be fictitious. The firm said 1.8 million reviews were automatically deleted by software.

The consumer website has invested heavily in fraud and anomaly detection software which has sped up and enhanced the process of identifying and removing fake reviews.

Improvements in detection have led to an increase in automated warnings to businesses, which has in turn seen increased action against a number of review sellers and further takedowns of groups and pages on other social media sites.

The consumer reviews website issued 121,048 automated warnings last year – a 210 per cent increase from 2020.

The number of public warning banners placed at the top of businesses’ profile pages to alert consumers increased fourfold in 2021 to 2,637.

Meanwhile, Trustpilot said 1,425 formal “cease and desist” letters were also issued to “bad actor” businesses – an increase of 38 per cent year on year.

The data was revealed as part of the firm’s latest transparency report.

Trustpilot’s founder and chief executive, Peter Muhlmann, said: “Any attempts to manipulate and undermine confidence in our platform cannot and will not be tolerated.

“Over the last year, we have continued to make significant investments and progress in our detection technologies and enforcement strategy.

“This is helping us to increasingly take more confident action against those breaking the rules.

“Those seeking to mislead consumers will always look for new ways to exploit and manipulate reviews.

“But as our report shows, we’re committed to stamping out bad actors and protecting the integrity of our platform.”

Reasons businesses have faced action in the past year include incentivising consumers and selectively inviting happy customers to leave reviews.

Other reasons include abusing the reporting tool by repeatedly only flagging negative reviews to Trustpilot or soliciting fake reviews.

Earlier this year, the consumer website announced a new legal strategy as part of its effort to tackle fake reviews.

The company is now filing litigation against businesses which refuse to play by the rules and fail to respond to repeated enforcement.

Carolyn Jameson, Trustpilot’s chief trust officer, added: “Our research has found that consumers are concerned about misinformation online, and we remain committed to tackling that problem.

“As the growth of online shopping shows no signs of slowing, we know that both customers and businesses rely on reviews more than ever.

“But the way these reviews are managed varies greatly across the internet.

“That’s why it’s so important for us to set an industry standard. Trust and transparency is at the heart of everything we do.”


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