Nearly 1 million TripAdvisor reviews were found to be fake in 2020

The shocking figure was revealed as part of the company’s annual ‘transparency’ report

Updated on 29 October 2021 • Written By Caroline Hendry

Nearly 1 million TripAdvisor reviews were found to be fake in 2020

It has been revealed that close to 1 million TripAdvisor reviews written last year - equivalent to 3.6% of the total - were fraudulent.

The shocking statistic was provided as part of TripAdvisor’s second annual transparency report, which aims to lift the curtain surrounding the review platform, including how much the online reviews can be trusted. As part of its reporting, TripAdvisor claimed that 67.1% of the fake reviews were caught before they were actually posted to the site, by the platform’s pre-posting moderation algorithm.

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The report also tackled the growing issues of paid reviews, in which businesses hire companies to write positive reviews for them in order to improve their ranking on TripAdvisor. The company says it had removed paid reviews from 131 different countries, with India being named as the country where the most paid reviews emanated from last year, although that does not necessarily mean that the reviews were for businesses in India.

In a statement to press, TripAdvisor said of the findings: “While our overall review contributions dropped in line with the slowdown in travel, fraudulent submissions – which of course are not predicated on real customer experiences – did not follow the same trend. Our team remained vigilant and effective at catching would-be fraudsters, and as a result the proportion of reviews we rejected or removed increased compared with pre-pandemic 2018 figures.”

Fake reviews pose a big threat to TripAdvisor, as customers want to ensure they can trust the reviews of fellow users and use these comments to determine which businesses - including restaurants, hotels and bars - they want to frequent. While fake reviews are among TripAdvisors chief concerns, there are various other reasons why reviews can be removed from the platform, including the use of profanity or hateful language. In total, more than 2 million review submissions were rejected or removed from TripAdvisor in 2020.

In other foodie news, IKEA (and its famous meatballs) are coming to Oxford Street.