Ebay and Facebook have been ordered by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to dramatically ramp up action to tackle fake reviews.
Following an eight month investigation into fake and misleading reviews on both sites, which aim to push items higher in search results so they’re viewed more often, the CMA said it found “troubling evidence” that they were rife.
It said that it uncovered more than 100 listings on Ebay from companies or individuals offering to write fake reviews, alongside 26 Facebook groups where people could order fake or misleading reviews on a range of review and shopping sites.
According to consumer advice group Which? these Facebook groups could contain nearly 90,000 individuals offering to fabricate reviews for those willing to pay.
Both Ebay and Facebook have been ordered by the CMA to conduct urgent reviews to tackle the thriving fake reviews marketplace.
“Lots of us rely on reviews when shopping online to decide what to buy. It is important that people are able to trust that reviews are genuine, rather than something someone has been paid to write,” CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli said.
“Fake reviews mean that people might make the wrong choice and end up with a product or service that’s not right for them. They’re also unfair to businesses who do the right thing.”
In response, Facebook has said it removed 24 of the 26 groups included in the CMA’s report adding that it knows “there is more to do which is why we’ve tripled the size of our safety and security team to 30,000.”
Meanwhile Ebay said in a statement that sellers identified by the CMA have now been suspended and were “strictly against our policy on illegal activity and we will act where our rules are broken.”