How often do you rely on online reviews when buying a product? The Federal Trade Commission is now looking at new penalties for those who post fake reviews.
Some companies, like Amazon, already do their own policing and punish people who they catch leaving fake or misleading reviews. It's not just about protecting bottom lines but making sure consumers get accurate information when we go to the reviews.
Experts believe tighter rules would put the necessary pressure on other companies to make changes.
”I believe platforms will pay more attention to this issue if they know there are potential punishments or regulations,” said Sherry He, a marketing researcher at UCLA. “They might have to disclose data to work with researchers and find out solutions.”
She says it's crucial because the fakes are getting tougher to spot. That means a higher chance of wasting money on an inferior product.
“A team of Chicago researchers developed a machine learning algorithm to write really good fake reviews and human beings cannot tell the difference,” He said. “The platform has to do something because they have all other information in the back end.”
The FTC will soon take public comments on fake review rules at regulations.gov.