Whether someone’s ordering food from Zomato or buying a smartphone on Amazon, scrolling down to read reviews or check ratings is the natural instinct for any consumer. These reviews have a significant impact on what people buy, which is why it’s not uncommon for sellers to rely on paid online feedback. With 4 per cent of all reviews found to be fake, causing a $152 billion loss to firms globally, the Indian government has implemented norms to curb the practice.
E-commerce platforms get the option to comply voluntarily
The guidelines framed by a consumer affairs ministry committee formed in June this year, will protect consumers as well as restaurants, travel service providers and consumer durable firms against misleading reviews. E-commerce platforms will first be asked to voluntarily comply with the new standards, before the government makes the measures mandatory to curb fake feedback. Such reviews will be considered as an unfair trade practice, and legal action can be taken based on acts that deal with the violation.
The process of filtering out fraudsters
Fake reviews will be filtered through an online verification process, which involves collecting feedback by invitation. Automated and manual moderation will be used for a process to verify the authenticity of an author. If a review doesn’t clear these checks, it must be rejected and flagged as fraudulent.
Links sent via email, OTPs sent via SMS and direct calls, along with single sign-on, geolocation via IP address and captchas, will be used for verifying the ID of a reviewer.
An automated system will go through the language to report reviews that seem inauthentic, without any human bias.
A booming sector at risk
The framework has been implemented on November 25, just five months after a committee was set up, to address an urgent concern among the e-commerce sector, which is a major part of everyday life for Indian consumers.