Tripadvisor fined Rs 3.8cr for fake reviews


Measures deployed by the website to fight bogus reviews: team to detect fraudsters as well as algorithms
The travel advice website TripAdvisor has been fined half a million euros by an Italian regulator after complaints about fake reviews on its pages.The Italian competition authority said the company should stop “publishing misleading information about the sources of its reviews” while false reviews were still viewable on its website.

A spokesperson for TripAdvisor said it would appeal the findings, saying it believed its processes were “extremely effective in protecting consumers from the small minority of people who try to cheat our system”.

“We firmly believe that TripAdvisor is a force for good — both for consumers and the hospitality industry,” the spokesperson said.

Measures deployed by the website to fight bogus reviews include a team to detect fraudsters as well as automated tools and algorithms.

The Federalberghi Italian hoteliers association, which was involved in the initial complaint against the website, alongside the country’s national consumer’s union, welcomed the decision.

“We are happy with the decision by the antitrust authority, which goes in the right direction to offer greater protection for consumers and businesses,” the group’s director-general Alessandro Nicara said.

The association says unscrupulous hotel owners sometimes leave false bad reviews of neighbouring competitors, which could skew holidaymakers’ decisions.

In 2012, the UK advertising regulator the Advertising Standards Authority ruled that TripAdvisor could not advertise all of its reviews as being genuine.

Last month, a couple were charged £100 by a hotel after they left a negative review of the establishment on TripAdvisor. The ‘fine’ was eventually refunded after a social media outcry.

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