How to spot a fake review
It is important to understand how to tell a bogus assessment from the real thing. Be wary of overly positive or negative reviews that don’t provide enough detail. Be wary of very brief five-star and one-star reviews. If a bunch of them are posted at the same time, they may not be reliable.
Amazon has added a Verified Purchase label with legitimate reviews to combat fake reviews. That will let you know that Amazon has confirmed the reviewer purchased the item they are reviewing.
How to report fake reviews
If you come across a review that you think is fake, you can report it to the e-commerce site and mark it for investigation and possible deletion.
Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart make it easy by requiring you to click the report/flag button next to a review. However, this simple system does not allow for depth or context.
Steam, on the other hand, allows you to write a message. Just click the Recommended/Not recommended banner to see the full review. Click the flag icon and enter your message.
Other sites require you to sign in to your account before doing anything about a particular review. It would help if you were signed in to your Yelp account before the platform’s reporting option is even offered. Meanwhile, TripAdvisor will let you start a report, but you have to sign in with your email, Facebook, or Google account to see it.
Sites like eBay and Facebook Marketplace allow you to report a seller, but there’s currently no way to flag reviews as fake. Some sites don’t even provide a clear way to report the abuse of any kind.
The online tool Fakespot rates the trustworthiness of product pages on Amazon, Best Buy, Google, Sephora, Steam, TripAdvisor, Walmart, and Yelp. Fakespot’s algorithm looks at reviews and ratings, linguistic analysis, previous reviews, and purchase history to determine reliability.
Just copy the URL of the page in question and paste it into the Fakespot website, and it will investigate the link. Once that’s done, Fakespot will throw up a class that will tell you if the site has reliable information.
It also filters out reviews that are considered fake to create a more trustworthy product review. This class won’t tell you if the product in question is good or bad, but it will make a more informed decision.
Extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari allow online shoppers to analyze websites with a click of a button. Fakespot is also available as an app for iOS and Android, where pages can be shared via a web browser directly to the app for analysis.
Another tool, ReviewMeta, works quite similarly to FakeSpot, but it simplifies the classification process as an Amazon-only analyzer. Like with Fakespot, you copy and paste the URL in question, but in this case, ReviewMeta doesn’t give the site a score. Instead, it removes reviews it deems unreliable and replaces Amazon’s aggregated rating with one from ReviewMeta.
This tool provides a unique capability for ReviewMeta’s fine-tuning algorithm. After the site analyzes a page, you can go into the classification mechanism and adjust how the categories are weighted. The site also provides a detailed analysis of the complete set with graphs for factors contributing to adjusted ratings.
Add a browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Edge to quickly analyze web pages and get a Warn/Pass/Fail classification depending on the results. A mobile app for iOS and Android also exists to help analyze pages from your phone.
The Review Index
The Review Index is an online tool that focuses on aggregating tech product ratings on Amazon and Steam, but it can still determine if fake reviews boosted a product’s score. There are Chrome and Firefox extensions that make this process easier.
Paste the URL into the website, and the Reviews Index divides products into different categories based on the parsed words from the reviews. At the same time, The Review Index runs spam tests to ensure that the reviews are authentic, providing a Pass/Fail score at the end.
Created by researchers at Cornell University, Skeptic Reviews works a little differently by using machine learning to identify fake hotel reviews. A simple online tool will give you a quick right or wrong indicator when including a URL in a website. Considering the Skeptic claim, it achieved 90 percent accuracy.
How to spot fake news
It’s not just product reviews; you need to worry about being scammed. These browser plugins and online tools can help you figure out how to spot fake websites.
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