The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has formally announced that it is exploring a potential rule to thwart deceptive or unfair reviews and endorsements. According to the FTC’s press release …
“The Federal Trade Commission announced today it is exploring a potential rule to combat deceptive or unfair review and endorsement practices, such as using fake reviews, suppressing negative reviews, and paying for positive reviews. Deceptive and manipulated reviews and endorsements cheat consumers looking for real feedback on a product or service and undercut honest businesses.The FTC’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) seeks public comment on potential harms stemming from deceptive or unfair review and endorsement practices and whether a rule would help consumers and level the playing field for honest marketers.
“Companies should know by now that fake reviews are illegal, but this scourge persists,” said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “We’re exploring whether a rule that would trigger stiff civil penalties for violators would make the market fairer for consumers and honest businesses.”
Research shows that many consumers rely on reviews when they’re shopping for a product or service, and that fake reviews drive sales and tend to be associated with low-quality products. The rapid growth of online marketplaces and platforms has made it easier than ever for some companies to create and use fake reviews or endorsements to make themselves look better or their competitors look worse. It can be difficult for anyone—including consumers, competitors, platforms, and researchers—to distinguish real from fake, giving bad actors big incentives to break the law.”