UK competition authorities opened formal investigations into Amazon and Google on Friday because they fear they are not doing enough to tackle fake reviews. “We are investigating concerns that Amazon and Google are not doing enough to prevent or eliminate fraudulent feedback to protect customers and businesses fairly,” said Andrea Kocelli, CEO of CMA.
“It is important that these technology platforms held accountable and we are prepared to take action if we find that they are not doing enough.”
Misleading consumer feedback has proven to be a major problem in e-commerce. Amazon is a prime target for brands looking to promote their products online with fake and promising listings. Last month, the company urged social media companies to weed out unfair reviews.
The competition and market regulator launched a preliminary investigation into the fake review issue in May 2020. Earlier this year he asked Facebook and eBay to remove groups and accounts that traded fake reviews.
Then, in April of that year, the CMA announced that Facebook had removed thousands more groups dealing with false and misleading reviews. Facebook made further changes to its system to identify, remove, and prevent such content from appearing on its platform.
CMA on Google and Amazon
On Friday, CMA focused on Amazon and Google, saying it would investigate whether they had done enough to detect and remove fake reviews. The investigation will also look into whether the company penalized reviewers or prevented the company from posting misleading reviews.
The security guard added that he was concerned that Amazon’s systems could not prevent sellers from tampering with product listings. It was an example of a retailer working with positive reviews of other products.
The CMA had not determined whether Amazon and Google violated the law at the time. But said they would take enforcement action — including a lawsuit against the company, if applicable — if they found to have violated consumer law. .
Amazon says it is assigning “significant resources” to preventing inaccurate or fake feedback.
“We work hard to ensure that reviews accurately reflect a customer’s experience with a product,” a company spokesperson told CNBC.
“We will continue to assist CMA in their investigation. Also will note their confirmation that no findings made against our business.”
Google says the company’s guidelines clearly state that reviews should be based on real experience.
CMA statement on Fake Reviews
“If we find a policy violation, we will take action, from removing abusive content to disabling user accounts,” a spokesperson told CNBC.
“We look forward to continuing to work with CMA to learn more about how industry-leading technology. Our review team are working to help users find relevant and useful information on Google.”
This is the latest in a series of investigations into the digital giant. Just three days ago, the European Union launched another antitrust investigation into Google. Investigating whether the internet search giant prefers its own technology to promote online advertising.
The UK’s CMA wants to play an increasing role in screening major US tech companies after Brexit. The country was commissioned by the government to set up a new digital marketplace unit. It helps to control competition in the UK internet market.