Feds Confirm Crackdown on Fake Online Reviews

Feds Confirm Crackdown on Fake Online Reviews

(UnitedVoice.com) – In theory, one huge advantage of shopping online is that you can access product reviews and find other consumers’ opinions of what you want to buy. In practice, many businesses quickly worked out how to game the system by using fake reviews to promote their products (and sometimes damage their competitors). Now, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has called time out on the dirty tricks.

On October 13, the FTC warned that it’s ready to penalize businesses that use fake reviews or misleading endorsements to promote their products. In a press release, the agency said, “The rise of social media has blurred the line between authentic content and advertising,” and slammed the “explosion in deceptive endorsements” this blurring had created.

The FTC said it had sent over 700 companies a Notice of Penalty Offenses to deter businesses from using fake reviews or other hidden marketing techniques. If the agency finds the notified businesses using misleading reviews or endorsements, they face fines of up to $43,792 per violation.

The list of potential violators features some big names, including Netflix, Comcast and AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, and doesn’t shy away from tackling liberal tech companies either – Apple, Facebook and Google have all been put on notice. Hopefully, the warning will sink in, and we’ll be able to believe what we read online again.

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