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UK regulator investigates Amazon, Google over fake reviews

Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said Friday it has opened a formal probe into Amazon and Google over concerns that they have not been doing enough to combat fake reviews on their sites.

The CMA said it will gather further information to determine whether the two firms may have broken consumer law by taking insufficient action to protect shoppers from fake reviews.

The move comes after an initial CMA investigation, which opened in May 2020, and assessed several platforms’ internal systems and processes for identifying and dealing with fake reviews.

The CMA is also concerned that Amazon’s systems have been failing to adequately prevent and deter some sellers from manipulating product listings – by co-opting positive reviews from other products.

Fake and misleading reviews have the potential to impact businesses’ star ratings and how prominently companies and products are displayed to consumers, changing their whole shopping experience.

If, after investigating, the CMA considers the firms have broken consumer protection law, it can take enforcement action. This could include securing formal commitments from the firms to change the way they deal with fake reviews or escalating to court action if needed. However, the CMA has not reached a view on whether Amazon and Google have broken the law at this stage, the CMA said in a statement.

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