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A Formal Probe is Launched Into Amazon and Google

Britain’s competition regulator launched a formal probe into Amazon and Google over concerns they haven’t done enough to tackle fake reviews. Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA, said in a statement that they are investigating concerns that Amazon and Google have not been doing enough to prevent or remove fake reviews to protect customers and honest businesses.

It is important that these tech platforms take responsibility and we stand ready to take action if we find that they are not doing enough. Misleading consumer reviews have proven to be a big problem in e-commerce, and Amazon is a prime target for brands looking to hype up their products online with fake, favorable write-ups. Last month, the company called on social media firms to help it weed out dishonest reviews.

The Competition and Markets Authority began an initial investigation into the issue of fake reviews back in May 2020. Earlier that year, it had gotten Facebook and eBay to remove several groups and accounts that engaged in trading fake reviews.The CMA said Facebook had removed thousands more groups that were dealing in false and misleading reviews and had made further changes to its systems to identify, remove and prevent such content from appearing on its platforms.

The  CMA on Friday focused on Amazon and Google, saying it was going to look into whether they had done enough to detect and remove fake reviews. The probe will also examine whether the companies penalize reviewers or firms to deter them from posting misleading scores. The watchdog added it was worried Amazon’s systems are failing to prevent sellers from manipulating product listings, giving the example of merchants co-opting positive reviews from other products.

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