India Cracks Down on Fake Online Reviews with New Guidelines

E-commerce and social media platforms in India are being swarmed with fake reviews. This caught the attention of many citizens that are now asking authorities to address the issue. With this, the Indian government passed guidelines to stop these reviews from misleading more citizens.

TechCrunch reports that this new set of rules spans food companies, tour services, and more platforms that rely on reviews to attract more customers. This framework involves implementing soft measures like voluntary moderation. Authorities warned of escalating the measures to mandatory requirements if online platforms remain to be overrun by sham reviews.

Combatting Fake Reviews

Seeing positive ratings means that you are looking at trustworthy and authentic products and services. Ratings and reviews should tell the truth about a certain product, ideally. It should also allow users to share their experiences with others and see if a certain product has a history of fraud.

Unfortunately, scammers in India have created a pandemic of fake consumer reviews and unverified ratings. And this is becoming a headache for a lot of Indians. It has already been a year since the authorities proposed their first guidelines to limit fake reviews.

India’s consumer affairs department formed a committee in June to develop the framework, and that committee produced the guidelines. According to the department, the committee was made up of a variety of interested parties, including law chairs, industry associations, and e-commerce companies.

The government finally released its anti-fake reviews guidelines on Monday, Nov. 21, which will go into effect four days later. Reports tell us that the Department of Consumer Affairs has created a standard titled “IS 19000:2022” that will be managed by India’s Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).

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As stated by a member of the drafting committee, the new standards for online reviews are intended to increase information accuracy and drive increased transparency for both consumers and brands.

A Closer Look

This framework was designed for both large organizations like Meta and Google as well as smaller businesses offering goods and services.

According to a member of the drafting committee who spoke to Reuters, the new regulations will call for large platforms to verify the legitimacy of reviews using a set of six to eight mechanisms, which means that fake accounts created solely for the purpose of writing reviews will eventually disappear or will be barred to do so.

With the new framework, platforms must set up review administrators to manually or automatically moderate reviews to weed out biases and prevent fraudulent reviews. The star rating and publication date should also be included in the reviews.

“Traceability by ensuring the authenticity of the reviewer and the associated liability of the platform are the two key issues here. Also, e-commerce players must disclose how they choose the ‘most relevant reviews’ for display in a fair and transparent manner,” Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh told the local press.

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Written by John Lopez

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