US Federal regulators crack down on fake reviews and deceptive online practices

The FTC has proposed a new rule that would prohibit paying for reviews, manipulating genuine reviews, selling fake social media engagement, and other deceptive tactics.

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US Federal regulators are planning to take strong action against dishonest online practices, including fake reviews. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has proposed a new rule prohibiting paying for reviews, manipulating honest reviews, selling fake social media engagement, and other deceptive tactics. 

The rule would also ban companies from operating websites that falsely claim to be independent and engaging in practices like ‘review hijacking,’ where reviews for one product are made to look like they were written for another. If approved, violators could face significant penalties. 

The FTC believes that the proposed rule will help combat deceptive advertising in the digital age and create a fairer environment for honest businesses. Current estimates suggest that between 4% and over 30% of online reviews are fake, impacting billions of dollars in global spending annually. 

The FTC’s move aligns with previous efforts to address fake reviews, including settlements with online retailers. Major companies like Amazon and Google have also taken legal action against those involved in fake review schemes. The FTC’s proposal follows its previous announcement to explore rulemaking in this area.