British regulators have opened an investigation on Amazon and Google to examine whether the tech giants have broken consumer protection law by “taking insufficient action to protect shoppers from fake reviews,” according to the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
The CMA said Friday that its formal probe, which adds to a previous inquiry over the trading of fake reviews launched last May, could force Amazon and Google to issue official commitments to alter the way they deal with fake reviews.
“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.”
Amazon and Google confirmed that they would cooperate with the CMA probe, according to CNN.
An Amazon representative told the outlet that the company allocates “significant resources to preventing fake or incentivized reviews from appearing in our store.”
“Our strict policies clearly state reviews must be based on real experiences, and when we find policy violations, we take action — from removing abusive content to disabling user accounts,” a Google spokesperson said.
The CMA has also launched an investigation into Facebook examining the same issue and claimed it is scrutinizing Apple and Google’s claim over mobile operating systems, app stores and web browsers last week.
In another tech update, Instagram may soon allow users to upload posts from a computer.