India today announced draft guidelines against fake online reviews and unverified consumer product ratings.
This measure has been proposed with the aim of increasing the authenticity and reliability of online content, while also making it less misleading for users.
India’s government has already issued draft guidelines based on which internet companies will have to create new procedures ensuring that their websites and apps do not contain fake reviews or misleading product or service ratings.
Most likely, the new guidelines in their final version will be mandatory for small and large companies alike, including Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Instagram.
Positive reviews are vital to most e-commerce companies, as they promote sales by generating interest from potential customers.
However, there are signs that some firms “moderate” online reviews with the aim of manipulating product ratings, which makes it difficult for consumers to make an informed decision about their purchases.
“As far as platforms like Google and Facebook go, the new rules will require them to validate the real person behind the review through specified 6-8 mechanisms which means fake accounts created just for review writing will go away over time or won’t be able to review,” said Sachin Taparia, one of the members of the committee responsible for the creation of draft guidelines.
Currently, if a company fails to control fake online reviews, this is not considered a compliance breach. Under new guidelines – if they are adopted in practice – companies will be legally accountable for unfair practices if they are found to be manipulating online reviews or product ratings.