The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has opened an investigation into Amazon and Google over concerns that they have allowed fake reviews to run rampant and turned a blind eye to unscrupulous sellers who have exploited them to gain an advantage over competing products. The probe follows an initial investigation opened by the CMA in May 2020, which looked into some of the systems and processes designed to address fake reviews and raised suspicions that Amazon and Google weren’t putting enough effort into stamping out the issue. Depending on what the CMA finds, Amazon and Google may be subject to court actions and hefty fines unless they change the way they do business.
“Our worry is that millions of online shoppers could be misled by reading fake reviews and then spending their money based on those recommendations,” CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli said in a 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,” Coscelli added.