• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3
French plan to root out fake online consumer reviews
Instant feedback. France plans to start a new authenticity regime for user reviews on company websites and consumer forums. Photo: Steve Nagata

French plan to root out fake online consumer reviews

Dan MacGuill · 3 Jul 2013, 09:33

Published: 03 Jul 2013 09:33 GMT+02:00

On Thursday, France’s national association on standardization and certification, AFNOR, is set to publish its plan to combat fake, anonymous commenters on consumer review websites, it was reported this week.

The new regime will create a logo, to be displayed by businesses on their websites, as well as consumer forums like La Fourchette, Yelp, and lastminute.com, which ensures users the sites have checked comments for authenticity, and that the comments haven’t been edited to their advantage.

A user claiming to have had a life-changing stay at a hotel in Lyon, for example, will be forced to provide proof and dates of their stay, to prevent fake reviewers in the employ of the hotel from padding out their online reputation with spurious ratings.

Furthermore, they will be required to provide two of three pieces of personal information – their email address, mailing address, or phone number – in order to sign in to the site.

On the other hand, big consumer brands such as Apple would be forced to display product reviews, however negative, on their websites, without censoring or editing any part of them once the comments had been checked for authenticity.

AFNOR’s plan would not force any website or company to take part in the programme, but allowing consumers to seek out the new logo would provide a strong incentive to voluntarily ensure the authenticity of the “user reviews” section of the site.

Similarly, websites will be given special dispensations to remove or edit certain comments, such as where claims are defamatory, individual staff members are named, or the opinion contains racially offensive language, for example.

Story continues below…

The French are particularly enthusiastic about online consumer reviews. According to an Easy Panel – Test 'n' Trust study last autumn, nine out of ten French consumers consult internet reviews before making a purchase.

Some 73 percent, however, also don’t trust them.

Dan MacGuill (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
US issues travel alert for France ahead of Euro 2016
Photo: AFP

The US has warned its citizens that France is a potential terror target during Euro 2016.

France lets widow have child with dead husband's sperm
An illustration of intracytoplasmic sperm injection. Photo: Wellcome Images/Flickr

A French court has ruled that the semen of a dead man can be used for artificial insemination.

French rail strikes to hit around half of train services
Photo: AFP

A rolling strike by French rail workers will begin on Tuesday evening with estimates suggesting around half of the train services will be not be running.

IN PICTURES: Wild weather pummels France
Submerged cars in the flooded town of Bruay-la-Buissiere, near Lens, northern France. All photos: AFP

Heavy rains have left submerged cars and flooded villages across France, and even breached the banks on the Seine River.

Paris to build humanitarian camp to welcome migrants
A new unofficial migrant camp in the north of Paris. Photo: AFP

Paris will soon be home to an official migrant camp that meets UN standards.

Paris has wettest May since 1873 (but Brittany stays dry)
Photos: AFP

Have you noticed it's been raining a lot in Paris in May? In fact it's been chucking it down more than in any other month of May for 143 years.

Is this France's best tourist attraction yet (for adults)?
Photo: AFP

Everything you need to know about France's new attraction: the world's biggest wine theme park, or a "Disneyland for adults".

French economy hit by drop in consumer prices
Photo: AFP

France's consumer prices have fallen, leaving the country stuck in a deflationary spiral.

France to put €1 billion into improving teachers' pay
Photo: AFP

France's teachers are soon to take home a bit of extra cash each month.

What's on in France: Ten great things to do in June
Photo: AFP

From music to car racing to food glorious food there is plenty to keep everyone entertained in France in June.

Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
National
How you'll be affected by France's ongoing strikes
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Features
What to expect when working in a bar in Paris
National
Violent storms in France: How to avoid being struck by lightning
National
Which of France's strikes could affect Euro 2016?
'You're not welcome': French police chief warns English yobs
How to avoid running out of fuel if you're coming to France
National
The French fuel crisis for dummies: 27 key questions
National
The trials and tribulations of moving to rural France
National
Five free smartphone apps to help you find petrol in France
Culture
Paris: Street artist makes the Louvre pyramid disappear
Interactive map: Where to find petrol in France
Who is the French union in a 'fight to the death' with the government?
Society
Opinion: Why the French are absolutely right to go on strike
National
Here's why both sides despise France's labour reforms
National
Who is really to blame for the fuel crisis in France?
National
Here are the parts of France hardest hit by the fuel shortages
Travel
It will soon be time to say 'au revoir' to the Paris Metro ticket
Culture
Revealed: The ultimate sex map of France
National
Migrants at Calais camp given dignity in death
International
How good is security at Charles de Gaulle airport?
Culture
How to make a traditional French cassoulet
Culture
IN PICS: Commuter trains in Paris get royal makeover
International
Terror attack 'likeliest cause' of missing EgyptAir plane
2,738
jobs available