The British authorities are investigating Amazon and Google to check if the tech giants had done something careless with the consumer protection by breaking the law by failing to protect the consumers from fake reviews about the product. The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on Friday said that its formal investigation, that shapes on an initial review tossed last May, might force Google and Amazon to change the mode they deal with fake reviews or it will result in a court action.
“Our worry is that millions of online shoppers could be misled by reading fake reviews and then spending their money based on those recommendations,” Andrea Coscelli, CMA chief executive, stated in his statement.
“Equally, it’s simply not fair if some businesses can fake 5-star reviews to give their products or services the most prominence, while law-abiding businesses lose out,” Andrea Coscelli further said.
The investigation by the UK consumer group disclosed the market of businesses earning money by manipulating reviews on Amazon. One company had sixty-two thousand reviewers globally, twenty thousand of which were based in the United Kingdom that would sell reviews for $18 or in bulk at $863 for a collection of fifty reviews. “Significant resources to preventing fake or incentivized reviews from appearing in our store.” An Amazon spokesperson said.
The company claims that it prevented 200 million suspected fake reviews last year being seen by customers around the world and earlier this month sued the owners of two websites. “Our strict policies clearly state reviews must be based on real experiences, and when we find policy violations, we take action from removing abusive content to disabling user accounts,” a Google spokesperson said.
In this week, the European Union has launched an antitrust investigation into Google’s gigantic advertising business just weeks after it exposed a parallel analysis that whether Facebook’s use of data gives it a discriminating benefit in online advertising. The CMA last week said it is investigating Apple and Google’s supremacy in mobile operating systems, web browsers and app stores.
Amazon and Google said that they would cooperate with the CMA’s examination. It is creating an atmosphere of uneasiness among the tech giants as the authorities are blaming the organizations for the anti-competitive behavior. This is building a pressure on the companies which would be worried about hefty fines and their reputation. This investigation of Amazon and Google would also force other tech giants like Apple and Facebook to change the way they do business.