TripAdvisor removed 'over one million' fake reviews in 2018

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

TripAdvisor removed 'over one million' fake reviews in 2018

Related tags: Tripadvisor, Online reviews, Restaurant

TripAdvisor has released its first Transparency Report to counter claims it is failing to tackle fake reviews.

The online travel site says it removed over one million fraudulent posts from its platform in 2018.

It adds that tackling the issue is a "daily battle" in which it is "far from complacent".

The report follows the release of a Which? investigation​ ​earlier this month, which alleged that some of the top 10 rated hotels in popular tourist destinations around the world were pushed up the site's rankings by fake reviews.

TripAdvisor says it received over 66 million review submissions in 2018, 2.1% of which were determined to be fraudulent and 73% of which were blocked before they were posted.

Less than 0.6% of reviews submitted (374,220 in total) made it on to the site before being removed for fraud.

The company says all posts are screened by an automated system, with a small percentage further examined by a moderation team.

It called on tech giants such as Google and Facebook to do more to help review sites counter fake posts.

“As long as other review platforms aren’t taking aggressive action, then fraudsters will continue to exploit and extort small businesses for cash," says Becky Foley, senior director of trust & safety at TripAdvisor. "It is time other platforms like Google and Facebook stepped up to the plate to join us in tackling this problem head on.”

Ongoing problem

TripAdvisor has long faced criticism from the hospitality industry over its handling of fake online reviews.

In 2015 the #noreceiptnoreview campaign​ received widespread sector support, calling on TripAdvisor to only allow users to post about a business if they could provide evidence of a receipt. At the time the review site said the idea was unfair to customers who didn’t pay the bill.

In 2017 an industry survey found that 85% of hospitality businesses had been impacted​ by fake reviews or ‘blackmailed’ with the threat of a bad write-up by customers seeking a refund.

Last year a person who sold falsified reviews to hospitality businesses in Italy was jailed for nine months​ in one the first cases of its kind.

TripAdvisor's full Transparency Report is available to read online here.

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