Online reviews are often fake

Online reviews and ratings are becoming increasingly important when deciding what to buy. At the same time, it has become significantly more difficult to know which online reviews are true and which are fake.
– There are online services where you can go in and buy reviews, says Måns Jonasson, expert at the Internet Foundation.

After the law was tightened in 2022, companies must now state how they receive their reviews. Nevertheless, there is considerable cheating. Last autumn, the Swedish Consumer Agency conducted an audit of 20 websites for insurance companies, where it turned out that none followed the new law change.

– You can buy 50, 100, 500 or 2,000 reviews from someone who sits and writes them for you. And unfortunately, it has become even easier now to make fake reviews with the help of AI.

But according to him, the importance of reviews will decrease in the future.

– I think we see a bigger trend in personal recommendations becoming more important, he says.

40 percent may be fake

Fake ratings and reviews are a big problem, not just in Sweden. A study conducted in the United States last year showed that up to 40 percent of all online reviews are unreliable.

But despite the scale, it is difficult to get at the cheaters.

– Then you must first be able to prove which reviews are fake and which are genuine. And I think that’s where the problem lies – it’s very difficult to know, says Måns Jonasson.

The expert: Then you should pull your ears

The fake reviews are found in all sorts of industries and businesses. One example is the travel company Tripadvisor, which in 2021 reviewed the 26 million reviews written on their platform the previous year. The result showed that almost one million were bought or written by the companies themselves.

As a consumer, it can be difficult to recognize a fake review. But there is something to be aware of. For example, you should look for details in the review, according to Jonasson.

– Look at the language, fakes are usually very general, says Måns.

– If there are only five stars everywhere, close your ears. There is always someone who is dissatisfied if it is real, says Måns Jonasson.

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