Amazon urges caution in fake review crackdown

Amazon has called for caution in fake review stampdown
Amazon has faced criticism for fake reviews
// Amazon has urged the Government to exercise caution over plans to stamp out fake reviews
// The online retailer is currently being investigated by the CMA over the issue

Amazon has called for “caution” over Government plans to crack down on false product reviews and paid-for ratings.

The online giant, which is under investigation from competition watchdogs over the issue, said although it supported plans to make paying for fake reviews illegal, it warned against a “one-size-fits-all” approach, according to The Telegraph.

Amazon said: “In taking steps to tackle fake reviews, caution must be exercised so that customer opinions are not overly censored. Consumers’ freedom to express their views, good or bad, must be protected.”

Ministers last month revealed plans to make it illegal for businesses to pay for fake reviews, and it plans to put the onus on websites to take steps to check reviews.

Amazon told the Government it wanted a clearer explanation of what “reasonable and proportionate steps” to tackle fake reviews would mean.

READ MORE: Amazon records first loss since 2015 as costs rise and sales slow

The Government is currently consulting on altering consumer protection law to include fake reviews, It could give Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) powers to enforce the law rather than requiring consumers to go through the courts.

Amazon, which sells a range of third-party products, has faced complaints of fake reviews and has sued and shut down fake review firms in the past.

However, consumer magazine Which? revealed last month that nine out of the 10 top rated Bluetooth headphones on Amazon were boosted by reviews for other products, including toys, mugs and umbrellas, which had been merged with the headphone seller’s in an attempt to improve search rankings.

The CMA is investigating Amazon and Facebook over concerns they are not doing enough to tackle fake reviews on their sites.

Amazon insists it devotes significant resources to the issue and its automated systems take down hundreds of millions of fake reviews each year.

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