Centre to create framework to detect fake reviews on e-commerce platforms

NEW DELHI: To protect consumers' interests, the government announced on Saturday that it will build a system to monitor bogus reviews placed on e-commerce websites.

On Friday, the consumer affairs ministry and the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) convened a virtual meeting with stakeholders, including e-commerce companies, to explore the prevalence of bogus reviews on their platforms. Consumers are misled into purchasing online items and services because of fake reviews.

The Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) will build these frameworks after evaluating the current process used by e-commerce businesses in India as well as best practises from around the world, according to an official release.  Consumer forums, law schools, lawyers, the FICCI, the CII, and consumer rights advocates, among others, attended the meeting to explore the scope of the problem and the path forward for fraudulent online reviews.

Consumers rely extensively on reviews placed on platforms to see the opinion and experience of users who have already purchased the thing or service because e-commerce entails a virtual shopping experience with no ability to physically inspect or check the product.

"The two main challenges here are traceability by guaranteeing the legitimacy of the reviewer and the platform's associated liability." In a fair and open manner, e-commerce businesses must also reveal how they chose the most relevant reviews' for display," Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh said.

According to the statement, all stakeholders agreed that the issue should be continuously monitored, and an adequate structure for phoney reviews should be devised to defend consumer interests.

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