REVIEW site Trustpilot has removed more than 2.2MILLION fake or harmful posts in the last year.The online platform has shed light into how it is preve
REVIEW site Trustpilot has removed more than 2.2MILLION fake or harmful posts in the last year.
The online platform has shed light into how it is preventing fraudulent users by using automated technology.
In its 2021 Transparency Report, the first of its kind, it revealed more than 38.5million reviews were published on the platform in 2020.
This is the same as a rate of 100,000-plus per day, around 75 per minute or more than one per second.
But automated technology, supported by a team of trained experts and fraud analysts, have removed 2,209,230 posts over the course of 12 months.
The machine learning tech automatically deleted 1,549,683 and 659,547 were manually taken down by the Content Integrity Team.
The company’s new Transparency Report opens up the workings of its business to demonstrate the scale of the protective, safeguarding measures it deploys as usage of its platform grows.
It has been published as a way of highlighting the importance of sharing how it operates with its users.
At the end of 2020, there were 529,219 businesses domains on Trustpilot, with 153,089 reviewed for the first-time last year.
Almost 20 million people wrote their first review on the site in 2020, with overall reviews up by 25% on the previous year as lockdown forced a greater shift on to online purchasing.
However, with the increase in users, and popularity in reviews in general, also comes new challenges from fraudsters – with Trustpilot developing high-tech fraud detection software to identify and remove fraudulent reviews.
The technology analyses multiple data points, such as IP addresses, user identifiers, device characteristics, location data and timestamps, to determine if it exhibits patterns of suspicious behaviour.
It looks at 100,000 reviews per day, and on top of this both consumers and businesses can flag suspicious reviews.
Whenever the software detects clearly fraudulent reviews, the review is moved offline and an email is sent to a reviewer to check.
The systems learn constantly from hundreds of millions of data points, enabling Trustpilot to use machine learning to constantly improve the accuracy of its automated software.
Thanks to this technology, its fraud protection programme is becoming more precise with every review, enabling the site to combat content or behaviour that undermines the integrity of the platform.
Fake and harmful reviews include businesses reviewing themselves, paid reviews designed to manipulate a rating, a review designed to deliberately undermine a competitor, advertising or promotions disguised as reviews, a review which has harmful or illegal content and reviews not based on genuine experience.
Fraudulent users were almost twice as likely to try and post five-star reviews as a one-star review.
They sent out almost 39,000 warnings to business accounts on the platform last year, which were followed by 1,030 formal cease and desist letters to businesses which continue to engage in misbehaviour.
Ultimately, 122 contracts were terminated for breach of guidelines after being sent a formal notice.
Peter Mühlmann, founder and CEO, Trustpilot said: “The popularity of online reviews has given consumers the confidence to buy more online from more businesses of all shapes and sizes.
“Fake reviews and misinformation are the enemy, and we continue to do all we can to prevent consumers from being misled.
“Trust is in our name, and trust is at the heart of all that we do as a business.”
Carolyn Jameson, chief trust officer at Trustpilot, added: “The integrity of reviews and how they’re managed differs greatly across the internet.
“Our open approach provides everyone with the ability to have their say at any time, without waiting to be invited and without interference, giving a more holistic and authentic view of what’s really going on.”
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Last year, Amazon was reported to have deleted 20,000 fake reviews after users rake in £20,000 from five-star posts.
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