Britain’s competition regulator on Friday opened a formal investigation into Amazon and Alphabet Inc’s Google over concerns the tech giants have not done enough to combat fake reviews on their sites.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it will now gather further information to determine whether the 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 regulator said it was also concerned that Amazon’s systems had failed adequately to prevent and deter some sellers from manipulating product listings, through for example co-opting positive reviews from other products.
“Our worry is that millions of online shoppers could be misled by reading fake reviews and then spending their money based on those recommendations,” said CMA Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli.
“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.”