Meta bringing down the hammer on fake reviews plaguing Facebook

Logging into Facebook on MacBook
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Meta is updating its Community Feedback Policy to begin cracking down on people and businesses abusing its review system.

Going forward, Facebook will apply stricter rules for what is allowed n Feedback posts. Apparently, some users and businesses were gaming the Community Feedback system to either trick people or manipulate reviews. Meta wants to keep things as honest as possible and (ideally) ensure people have a positive experience on Facebook.

Prior to this update, Facebook did go after manipulative reviews, but now it’s in writing on the Terms and Policies page. Forcing honesty and transparency on the world's largest social media platform sounds like an obvious thing - and a  long time coming - but better late than never.

New rules

The policy update includes five new changes that affect two features in Facebook Shops: "Ratings & Reviews" and "Questions & Answers."  A Facebook representative told TechRadar these features only appear on the American version of Shops, so only users in the US will be affected. As for other countries, the representative vaguely said Meta will share more information sometime in the future.

The first change is that now users cannot use reviews to “misrepresent [or] deceive" people for money or gifts. Incentivized reviews or posts are no longer allowed unless it’s part of a bigger brand deal. Meta defines incentivization as a business offering a cash reward or refund in exchange for leaving a good review on their page.

Next, a Feedback post must be relevant to the business, product, and the reviewer’s experience. Spam will also be more heavily moderated, according to Meta, which includes “high-frequency content posting, sharing, [and] promoting.” And the last change is stricter enforcement of offensive content. Meta doesn’t want users threatening others or posting graphic content to a group, for example.

Meta states these changes are designed to ensure its platform remains a trusted place. It wants Community Feedback to maintain a degree of integrity and authenticity so people can make informed purchases. As for businesses, Meta wants them to know they’ll be protected from fraudulent claims or abuse under the new rules.

The company is asking the community at large to report any violations they see. Meta will then investigate the report. If you're found violating this policy, Facebook will remove your Feedback review and may ban you for repeated offenses. For businesses found violating the rules, they can get features taken away from them like access to product tags and listings.

Analysis: Still room for improvement

Facebook has already been cracking down pretty hard on fake reviews. A report by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK states the platform got rid of 16,000 groups that were exchanging fake reviews on Facebook and Instagram. And back in March, Meta filed a lawsuit against an individual who had a business specializing in posting fake reviews.

Good on Meta for cracking down on these fake reviews, but its work is far from complete. Phishing scams are a big problem. A recent report by cybersecurity firm PIXM reveals that as many as 2.7 million Facebook users may have been affected by scams. It’s important you learn how to protect yourself from phishing scams. Fortunately, TechRadar has a guide that teaches you how to protect yourself.

Cesar Cadenas

Cesar Cadenas has been writing about the tech industry for several years now specializing in consumer electronics, entertainment devices, Windows, and the gaming industry. But he’s also passionate about smartphones, GPUs, and cybersecurity.