Following action from UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA,) Facebook and eBay have committed to combatting the trade of fake and misleading reviews on their sites.
Facebook and eBay have signed up to agreements to better identify, investigate and respond to fake and misleading reviews.
CMA says that more than three-quarters of people are influenced by reviews when they shop online, and billions of pounds are spent every year based on write-ups of products or services. Fake and misleading reviews are illegal under UK's consumer protection law. CMA says that websites have a responsibility to ensure that this unlawful and harmful content isn’t advertised or sold through their platforms.
In response to the CMA highlighting its concerns about the trade of fake and misleading reviews in the summer, Facebook has removed 188 groups and disabled 24 user accounts, and eBay has permanently banned 140 users.
Both organisations have also pledged to put measures in place that will help prevent this type of content from appearing in the future. As part of this, Facebook has agreed to introduce more robust systems to detect and remove such content. eBay has improved its existing filters to better identify and block listings for the sale or trade of online reviews.
“We maintain zero tolerance for fake or misleading reviews and will continue to take action against any seller that breaches our user polices,” said a spokeswoman at eBay.
Facebook said it was working to stop such fraudulent activity, including exploring the use of automated technology to help remove content before it was seen.
“While we have invested heavily to prevent this kind of activity across our services, we know there is more work to do and are working with the CMA to address this issue.”
During a further sweep of relevant platforms the CMA also highlighted new examples of fake and misleading reviews for sale via Instagram, and reported these to Facebook which operates Instagram. Facebook has committed to investigate the issue. The CMA will be seeking a commitment from Facebook to take action to tackle these further issues.