The government of India has stepped in to protect consumers’ interests by implementing a strict framework to halt fake reviews on E-Commerce platforms in the country.
To make these platforms less deceptive for consumers, the government has disclosed that there will be an introduction of guidelines, starting from November 25th, to curb the spread of fake reviews.
The consumer affairs ministry along with the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) held a meeting with stakeholders, as well as several e-commerce entities to discuss how paid unverifiable reviews make it challenging for consumers to recognize genuine reviews.
India’s department of consumer affairs has already drafted standard guidelines that will mandate e-commerce platforms to set up review administrators to moderate reviews using automated or manual tools to filter out biases and restrict fraudulent reviews.
The reviews would also include the publishing date and star rating. The newly drafted guideline will ensure that consumers are not able to edit their reviews or use any foul language.
Platforms are also mandated to restrict authors giving fraudulent reviews from publishing fake reviews in the future.
Speaking in a press conference in New Delhi, India’s Consumer Affairs secretary Rohit Kumar Singh said, “All the countries where e-commerce is getting more and more prevalent and popular, they are all struggling with online fake reviews.
“Some are making rules, some are making a legal provision. But I think we are the first country and I qualify that statement subject to my knowledge, which is working at the standard, and we will take the standards route.
“We don’t want to bulldoze the industry, we will first seek voluntary compliance and then if the menace continues to grow, we will maybe make it mandatory in the future depending on what happens”.
The issue of fake reviews on several e-commerce sites in India is not new, and these platforms have often claimed to have addressed it, yet it has continued to increase.
In a bid to drive sales, several sellers on these e-commerce platforms resort to unfair means to make their products sought after, knowing fully well that the algorithm on e-commerce platforms pushes products with more positive reviews to the top, which gives them an advantage over other products.
These reviews play a vital role in customer behavior as it spurs them to purchase products with more positive reviews. With the recent development of a legal framework by the Indian government, hopefully, these fake reviews will be drastically reduced.