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Graham Awards


Fake Reviews - online platforms plagued by bogus comments

Platforms like Facebook are infiltrated by fake review factories, despite the imminent publication of a new Bill which will look to make this activity illegal and subject to potentially huge fines from the regulator.

The claim comes from consumer body Which? 

It says its latest investigation into the problem found more than a dozen groups trading fake glowing reviews in exchange for free products or payment. This is despite multiple previous interventions by the Competition and Markets Authority.


Researchers uncovered 14 groups trading in reviews for Amazon, Google and Trustpilot, that shared more than 62,000 members between them.

Which? first uncovered groups on Facebook trading free products for positive Amazon reviews in 2018, and since then has uncovered review trading groups on the platform. Which? estimates that the groups it has reported to Facebook have had at least 1.16m members in total.

The government is soon expected to publish its Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill which will crack down on fake reviews. 

Which? also found nearly 17,000 members across groups trading in Google reviews. A search for ‘Google reviews’ revealed groups trading openly in five-star reviews for businesses.

One group that had been started in February 2023 had very quickly gained members – it already had 2,728 members, with 503 joining in a week. Which? says the group was very active, with more than 3,300 posts in a month.

While the number of groups (two out of 14), and members, trading in Trustpilot reviews was smaller than for Amazon and Google, their activities are equally brazen says the consumer body.

The ‘Trustpilot Review Support’ group was started in January, and has 149 members – 24 added in the week Which? was conducting this investigation. The group description reads ‘We are here to boost your businesses by placing 5 star positive review’ – a practice strictly against Trustpilot’s terms and conditions.

Another group – Google & Trustpilot reviews – was created in April 2022 and had 660 members. There had been 480 posts in a month, meaning it was an active group. Which? found members requesting and offering reviews for a variety of platforms, with several posting screenshots of reviews that they had apparently left on Google or Trustpilot. Which? also found UK businesses requesting reviews.

Rocio Concha, Which? director of policy and advocacy, says: “Despite previous interventions by the regulator, our latest findings suggest an industry dedicated to fake review trading continues to thrive on Facebook, leaving consumers exposed to misleading information on some of the world’s biggest review and shopping platforms.

“The Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill – including strong enforcement and tough penalties for platforms that fail in their legal responsibilities – is sorely-needed to tackle fake reviews and ensure consumers have protections fit for the digital age.”

Review platforms emphasise that they take strenuous measures to ensure the accuracy of their content.


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