From the 30.2 million reviews posted on Tripadvisor in 2022, 4.4% were fake or fraudulent, according to the platform’s Review Transparency Report released on 11 April. As travellers and diners returned in full force post-pandemic, the biennial report reveals that 30.2 million reviews were posted in 2022, a 20% increase since 2020 when the previous edition of the report was published.
Despite perceptions around the integrity of online reviews, only a fraction of total submissions from 2022 were determined to be fake or fraudulent at just 4.4%, of which Tripadvisor’s detection and moderation processes prevented 72% of submissions from ever making it onto the platform, up from 67% in 2020, while around 2.3 million reviews were manually investigated by a moderator.
1. Combatting paid reviews
While paid review companies have a damaging impact on consumer trust, they do in fact represent a small proportion of fraudulent content on the site. In 2022, Tripadvisor only removed 24,521 reviews associated with paid review companies, almost almost half originating from the same six countries: India, Russia, US, Türkiye, Italy and Vietnam.
Platforms like ours are built on trust, so we never stop learning and improving our systems to ensure our community has access to honest, accurate content.Becky Foley, Vice President, Trust & Safety at Tripadvisor
To deter businesses from resorting to paid reviews and maintain the authenticity of content on the site, Tripadvisor takes strict action against offending establishments. Content bans, ranking penalties and red badges flagged on the listing are all used to discourage businesses from cheating the system. This year’s Review Transparency Report reveals that the platform applied a ranking penalty to just over 33,000 businesses for fraud and issued 341 red badge warnings in 2022, each of these enforced with a ranking penalty.
The findings from this report show that our approach is working; we’re catching a higher proportion of fraudulent content before it is published, with nearly three-quarters of fake reviews never even making it to the platform”, said Becky Foley, Vice President, Trust & Safety at Tripadvisor.
2. Keeping travellers safe
“Built on transparency, and with over 11.1 million businesses listed worldwide, Tripadvisor has a duty to keep its community of explorers safe – one it takes extremely seriously”, Tripadvisor highlighted in a statement. “An important, but less recognised feature of the site is alerting travellers to potential safety incidents.”
During 2022, almost 600 reviews were posted by Tripadvisor’s community that described a serious safety incident during a travel or dining experience. In order to increase awareness, filters are placed on these listings and reviews to help users more easily identify potentially problematic businesses. Of the reviews that include safety notices, the majority (44.34%) are related to hotels, followed by bookable experiences (34.83%) and restaurant reviews (20.83%). Reviews that report a serious safety incident are over 10 times as likely to be read than reviews that do not, the report reveals, proving the efficiency of the filters.
“I’m incredibly proud of our efforts to shine a light on the more troubling review content submitted by our community”, added Foley. “Sharing details of distressing incidents requires courage and all those who have been brave enough to share their experiences will hopefully take heart from the fact that their reviews are being seen by others and are making a real-world difference.”