• 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
Four shot in high-speed car chase in France
All four people in the suspect car were injured in the crash, two of them seriously. Photo: Alexis Constant/La Voix du Nord/ AFP

UPDATE: Car was carrying four suspected human traffickers.

This is how Paris plans to stop the 'wild peeing' plague
The use of public toilets in Paris has climbed 41 percent since 2011. Photo: AFP

Paris may one of the world's most elegant cities, but sometimes it stinks. Quite literally.

Afghan film star in French exile after death threats
Afghan actress Marina Golbahari and her husband Noor in Paris. Photo: AFP

The feted star of an internationally-acclaimed film, Afghan actress Marina Golbahari, and her husband have been chased from their home to the brink of suicide in a filthy French asylum shelter after she was photographed without a veil.

'Love lock' tour companies spark anger in Paris
Photo: AFP

Companies are making money from "love lock tours" on Paris's historic bridges and the public are angry.

Why does 'everyone in France hate the police'?
Photos: AFP

"Everyone hates the police" is the new chant of protesters in France, but why?

Nine Paris parks to stay open 24 hours a day
Photo: AFP

The new longer opening hours start this weekend.

French set to enjoy long Ascension weekend in the sun
Photo: Météo France

Although the fine weather set to come to an abrupt end with a few bangs and flashes of lightning on Sunday.

How to make the most of France's 2016 holidays
Photo: Miguel Discart/Flickr

Bad luck, holiday lovers. Out of eleven national public holidays in France this year, three fall on a Sunday. Here's a closer look.

Violence as police clear migrants out of Paris school
Migrants' supporters face anti-riot policemen to protest against the Jean-Jaurès highschool evacuation in Paris. All photos: AFP

Migrant evictions in Paris today sparked clashes between protesters and police.

Soon you can be free of annoying cold calls in France
Photo: CAFNR/Flickr

Sick of getting cold calls? France has some good news for you.

Sponsored Article
How to launch your international career
National
Le Soleil! French set to enjoy long Ascension weekend in the sun
Sponsored Article
What's the best way for expats to transfer money abroad?
May the 4th be with you: How the French translated Star Wars
National
Why France has a major problem with the US and EU free trade deal
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Proust's personal archives to go under the hammer in Paris
National
Who exactly are the masked rioters causing havoc across France?
French rail passengers must now pay to change their tickets
Travel
Here are nine must-see landmarks in Paris you may have missed
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Society
Paris makes love-lock bridge even more love-lock proof
Lifestyle
Parisians paying dearly for their bad 'parking'
Society
What's on in France: Ten great things to do in May
Society
Protesters clash with police over France's new labour laws
National
French dangerously 'unprepared' for future natural disasters
Is it really safe to come to France for Euro 2016?
National
Salah Abdeslam: Pot-smoking 'little moron' is finally back in Paris
Rail strike: Passengers in France face major disruption
Cats in a cafe?!? Nine of the quirkiest things you can see in Paris
National
VIDEO: The moment a Paris suicide bomber blew himself up
National
Why there's another rail strike in France and why there will be more
National
Winter is coming (back). Why is France so cold right now?
National
WWI's Anzac Day heroes honoured in northern France service
Lifestyle
VIDEO: Did you know all these stars spoke great French?
Culture
How did the French end up with their 'crazy' numbers?
Politics
Why this man could become the next president of France
2,765
jobs available