War on Fake Reviews: The Upcoming Legal Changes That Will Haunt Fake Reviews and Covert Advertising Online

In the list of problems of the network, one of those that companies see as a drag is that of false comments and opinions. Fake reviews distort the market, promoting products that do not deserve it, damaging the reputation of companies or creating bubbles.

False reviews are also not simply the work of a couple of consumers who hated your product or your service or the work of your cousins ​​to innocently push the store you just opened. They are already a solvent organized industry, as several investigations have shown and as confirmed by the movements that some large companies take (Amazon is one of them) to penalize their activities in their environments.

In fact, a recent study pointed out that fake – and professional – reviews have grown in recent times.

Since its growth does not stop and since this affects consumers themselves, who make many purchasing decisions based on the opinions of others, false comments have increasingly become a concern for regulators and administrations.

In the UK, an investigation has been opened by the market regulator to determine whether Google and Amazon are doing enough to fight false reviews. In Spain, fake reviews could directly become illegal.

What Spain wants to do

The Council of Ministers has just started the reform process of the Law for the Defense of the Rights of Consumers and Users. This standard is what regulates what companies must do to respect the rights of buyers and will be updated to new environments.

This will lead to the fact that, if the reform plans continue as they are now (their processing has started right now, but it has to go through several phases before becoming law), covert advertising on social networks and false online reviews will be prohibited. . The regulations will also prosecute the illegal resale of tickets, pursuing the fact that large amounts of tickets are bought with bots and that the normality of access for consumers is broken.

“The regulations on the rights of consumers need to adapt, above all, to major transformations such as online consumption,” said the Minister of Consumption, Alberto Garzón, when he presented the reform project to the media. Comments are a prominent part of online shopping and one where fake reviews have a high impact.

Who will have an opinion

How will your opinion and its legitimacy be controlled? The rule wants to force online stores to guarantee that those who are giving their opinion on the product are people who have actually bought that product or service.

The law also wants to put limits on search engines, forcing them to show the parameters with which they choose to position before or not to guarantee a certain neutrality and to apply controls when the scores that something takes are higher than those of its competitors.

The Ministry of Consumption also has the power to sanction companies that commit massive infractions and fraud, even if they are not based in Spain. The fines could be up to 8 times the profit they obtain in Spain or up to 4% of their turnover.

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