Center to develop a framework to check for fake reviews on e-commerce sites

The government will develop a framework to control fake reviews on e-commerce sites, the Union Department of Consumer Food and Public Distribution said on Saturday.

In a statement, the ministry said, “The Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA), after studying the current mechanism followed by e-commerce entities in India and the best practices available globally, will develop these frameworks.”

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The move came a day after Consumer Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh hold a meeting with various stakeholders on the issue of fake reviews on e-commerce platforms on Friday. During the meeting, issues related to “paid reviews, unverifiable reviews and lack of disclosure in case of incentivized reviews that make it difficult for consumers to recognize genuine reviews” were discussed.

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The statement read: “DoCA, in association with the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) as well as various stakeholders such as e-commerce entities, consumer forums, law academies, lawyers, FICCI, CII, Consumer rights activists and others at a meeting discussed the scale and future roadmap for fake reviews on websites.

“Since e-commerce involves a virtual shopping experience without any opportunity to physically see or examine the product, consumers rely heavily on reviews posted on e-commerce platforms for opinion and opinion. ‘experience of users who have already purchased the good or service’, it said.

According to the statement, Singh said that traceability, ensuring reviewer authenticity, and associated platform accountability are the two key issues here. E-commerce players must also disclose how they choose the ‘most relevant reviews’ to display in a fair and transparent manner,” he said.

The statement further states, “All stakeholders agreed that the issue warranted close monitoring and that an appropriate framework governing false reviews could be developed to address the issue of protecting consumer interests.”

“Stakeholders from e-commerce companies said they have frameworks in place to monitor fake reviews and would be happy to participate in developing a legal framework on the matter,” he said. The meeting was attended by Additional Secretary Nidhi Khare, Joint Secretary Anupam Mishra and other officials.

During the meeting, ASCI CEO Manisha Kapoor highlighted the categories of false and misleading reviews and their impact on consumer interest.