By Joe Hoppe
The U.K.’s markets regulator said Friday that it has opened a formal probe into Amazon.com Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google over concerns they haven’t been doing enough to address fake reviews on their sites.
The Competition and Markets Authority said that in its next phase of work it will gather more information to determine whether the firms have broken consumer law by not taking enough action to protect shoppers from fake reviews for online products.
The CMA’s decisions follows an initial investigation, opened in May 2020, assessing several platforms’ internal systems and processes for spotting and dealing with fake reviews. The work raised concerns that Amazon and Google weren’t doing enough to detect fake and misleading reviews and suspicious behavior, investigate and promptly remove fake reviews, or impose adequate sanctions on reviewers or businesses to deter them.
The CMA also said it was concerned Amazon’s systems were failing to adequately stop or deter sellers from manipulating product listings–like co-opting reviews from other products.
“It is important that these tech platforms take responsibility and we stand ready to take action if we find that they aren’t doing enough,” CMA Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli said.
The regulator said it hasn’t reached a view on whether the companies have broken the law at this stage.
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