Insights Facebook agrees to take more action to tackle the trading of fake and misleading reviews

In January 2020 Facebook committed to better identify, investigate and remove groups and other pages where fake and misleading reviews were being traded, and prevent them from reappearing. It gave a similar pledge in relation to its business in May 2020, after the Competition and Markets Authority had identified similar concerns.

A follow-up investigation by the CMA found evidence that the illegal trade in fake reviews was still taking place on both Facebook and Instagram, and the CMA intervened for a second time.

Facebook has now removed a further 16,000 groups that were dealing in fake and misleading reviews. It has also made further changes to its systems for identifying, removing and preventing such content on its social media platforms to ensure it is fulfilling its previous commitments. These include:

  • suspending or banning users who are repeatedly creating Facebook groups and Instagram profiles that promote, encourage or facilitate fake and misleading reviews;
  • introducing new automated processes that will improve the detection and removal of this content;
  • making it harder for people to use Facebook’s search tools to find fake and misleading review groups and profiles on Facebook and Instagram; and
  • putting in place dedicated processes to make sure that these changes continue to work effectively and stop the problems from reappearing.

This move follows the Government’s announcement that a dedicated Digital Markets Unit (DMU) will be set up within the CMA from April 2021. Once the necessary legislation is in place, this will introduce and enforce a new code for governing the behaviour of platforms that currently dominate the market. As part of this process, the CMA has been advising government on the design and implementation of a pro-competition regime for digital markets. To read the CMA’s press release in full, click here.