1. Fake reviews
Nearly 1 million fake reviews were submitted to Tripadvisor in 2020, according to the travel company’s latest transparency report. Luckily, from the 943,205 comments uploaded to the commentary section — a total of 3.6% of all reviews submitted — two-thirds were identified before going public, about 67.1%. In 2020 alone, Tripadvisor gathered over 26 million reviews on its website, including the nearly 1 million fake testimonies.
“The report highlights the important steps Tripadvisor is taking to protect travellers, diners and businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic, with the introduction of new community standards designed to prevent the spread of Covid-19 misinformation and protect businesses that have been keeping customers safe,” stated Tripadvisor’s report.
2. Top cheating countries
As part of Tripadvisor’s assessment, some 131 countries were identified engaging on paid reviews — India was the country generating the most fake reviews in 2020. Aside from India, Tripadvisor said the nine countries engaging the most on false reviews in 2020 were Germany, Brazil, United States, Pakistan, Greece, Argentina, Bangladesh, Turkey and Italy.
3. Fraud and paid reviews
The report also revealed that in 2020, Tripadvisor banned 34,605 properties for fraudulent activity, as well as 20,299 for not following community standards. The company’s investigations have further detected 65 new paid review sites and blocked paid review submissions from a total of 372 different paid review sites.
The vast majority (93%) of fake reviews were picked for positive bias, such as in cases where somebody is connected with a business or has been offered incentives to review it, with the remainder either deliberately malicious (3%) or paid (4%).
We believe this level of transparency is vital to maintain trust among the millions of travellers who rely on our community’s guidance, and among the millions of businesses — many of which are small and independently owned — for whom Tripadvisor is their shop window to the worldBecky Foley, Tripadvisor’s Head of Trust & Safety
4. Tips for users
Despite the continuous efforts to counter fraudulent activity, Tripadvisor is unable to detect all of the artificial reviews. However, the travel company is eager to empower its users by sharing some useful tips, which will help them to identify a fake review. According to an infographic included with the report, commentaries that are “recent,” “first-hand,” “relevant,” “respectful and unbiased” are more likely to be genuine.