Trustpilot releases new report on how to guard against fake reviews

Review platform Trustpilot has revealed in its latest Transparency Report that over 46.7 million reviews were submitted to the platform last year, of which 2.7 millions were fake.

As part of the ongoing work to protect and promote online trust, leading review platform, Trustpilot, now offers Consumer Verification, providing consumers with the ability to verify their identity when posting reviews. This is in addition to Business Verification and other measures to deliver greater transparency and integrity of the platform.

Underpinning the ongoing need for innovation and evolving trust signals, the second Trustpilot Transparency Report was released today, revealing that a record 46.7 million reviews were submitted to the global review platform last year, which equates to a quarter of all reviews submitted since the company’s launch in 2007.

With investment to improve Trustpilot’s fraud and anomaly detection software, this has seen a significant increase in identifying and removing fake reviews, with 1.8 million reviews being removed by automated detection software in 2021, an increase of 19% year on year.

Peter Muhlmann, founder and CEO, Trustpilot commented: “It’s clear that consumers value open platforms like Trustpilot to share their experiences and this is demonstrated by the 46.7 million reviews submitted over the last year alone.

“This is the second time we have published our Transparency Report and over the last year we have continued to make significant investments and progress in our detection technologies – helping us to increasingly take more confident action against those who seek to use reviews to mislead consumers. As our report shows, we’re committed to protecting the integrity of our platform” Peter said.

As the integrity of reviews and how they are managed differs greatly across the internet, Trustpilot is committed to safeguarding its platform as it continues to grow globally. 2.7 million fake* reviews were detected and removed in 2021, equivalent to 5.8% of the total number of reviews submitted during 2021.

Of the 2.7 million fake reviews removed in 2021, 1.8 million were detected by Trustpilot’s technology, a 19% increase from the year prior. Technology improvements also meant that Trustpilot issued 121,048 warnings last year, an almost threefold year on year increase.

Cameron Buckley, Trustpilot’s regional director – APAC, reinforced the company’s commitment to an open platform, “As Australians continue to purchase online, they need trusted sources to rely on to make better decisions, and that’s why our key focus is on building and protecting trust online so Australians can leave and read reviews with confidence.

“In addition, our new Consumer and Business Verification tool is an exciting development and highlights the genuineness of our reviews and Trustpilot’s commitment to a transparent and open platform. That means, anyone who wants to share their experience with a brand, whether positive or negative, has the opportunity to do so” said Cameron.

Consumer and Business Verification is available on the Trustpilot platform on an opt-in basis, and allows parties to safely and securely share a copy of their government-issued photo ID, as well as take a selfie. Using the same technology as banks and healthcare providers, verification is optional and enables consumers and businesses to play their part in building an even more trusted community on Trustpilot.

Crucially, Trustpilot has taken several other types of action as part of the continued efforts to protect against misuse and evolve to protect and promote online trust. The number of public warning banners (2,637) placed at the top of businesses’ profiles pages – alerting consumers when misuse has been identified on the page – increased fourfold in 2021, whilst 1,425 formal ‘cease and desist’ letters were also issued to businesses breaching Trustpilot’s guidelines – an increase of 38% year on year.

Some of the reasons businesses received these enforcement actions included incentivising consumers to leave reviews, ‘cherry picking’ by selectively inviting only happy customers to share feedback, abusing the reporting tool by repeatedly only flagging negative reviews to Trustpilot, or soliciting fake reviews – all of which undermine trust in reviews and breach Trustpilot’s Guidelines for Businesses. This is in conjunction with removing ‘review sellers’ (companies and individuals who offer fake reviews for sale online), from the platform to set a global standard in trust online.

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