Italy’s antitrust authority states that TripAdvisor failed to implement mechanisms that would prohibit false reviews from being posted, while still touting their content as “authentic and genuine”.
The Federalberghi federation of hoteliers was largely in favor of the decision due to the fair amount of false reviews being posted throughout the site.
The antitrust authority has given TripAdvisor up to 90 days to find a solution in order to remedy the situation.
In a statement, TripAdvisor said they would appeal the findings and that they stood by their processes which are inclusive of a team that detects fraud as well as automated tools and algorithms which are “extremely effective in protecting consumers from the small minority of people who try to cheat our system.”
This is not the first time that TripAdvisor has come under fire for the way their mechanisms work. A UK regulator previously implored TripAdvisor to stop claiming that the reviews on its British site were written by independent travelers, in essence, insinuating their reliability.
“We firmly believe that TripAdvisor is a force for good – both for consumers and the hospitality industry,’ they stated.
According to TripAdvisor’s FAQ, they have a team of moderators that examine questionable reviews. The same FAQ states: “TripAdvisor has millions of reviews and more than one million hotels, restaurants, and attractions; therefore, it would be impractical for us to fact check the details of reviews.”
To aid their process, TripAdvisor employs a fraud detection algorithm that was developed based on techniques that were developed to contend against credit card and insurance fraud. This system checks every one of the 60 reviews posted every minute by visitors, analyzing dozens of characteristics of each review to determine whether or not someone is trying to manipulate TripAdvisor.
There are over 200 million reviews and more than 890,000 hotels on TripAdvisor’s site.
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