Tripadvisor has revealed that in 2020 one million reviews it received were fake – or 3.6 per cent of the 26million-plus reviews submitted.

The figure has been revealed in the company’s 2021 Review Transparency Report, which stated that 67.1 per cent of all fake review submissions were prevented from appearing on the platform.

Tripadvisor reported that it had penalized 34,605 properties for fraud and banned 20,299 members from violating its community standards for 2020.

Tripadvisor has revealed that in 2020 one million reviews it received were fake – or 3.6 per cent of the 26million-plus reviews submitted

Tripadvisor fraud investigators also identified 65 additional paid review sites and blocked payment submissions from a total number of 372 different paid sites.

Tripadvisor also removed 46.145 reviews that were not in compliance with the new Covid-19 posting guidelines.

In all, more than two million review submissions – 8.6 per cent of the total – were rejected or removed from the platform either manually or by the ‘advanced review analysis system’.

Tripadvisor said that there are a number of reasons why reviews are rejected or removed, ‘ranging from community standards violations (such as the use of profanity) to fake review activity’.

According to an infographic published in the report, key traits of a genuine review are being ‘recent’, ‘first hand’, ‘relevant’ and ‘respectful and unbiased’.

The infographic has a sample genuine review, which reads: ‘I enjoyed a fantastic meal here last week. The food is excellent. The chef clearly emphasizes fresh, local ingredients. As a vegan, there were plenty of choices. The servers were friendly and welcoming. Although the service was slow at times, it was understandable considering how busy it was. Loved the ambience and décor (the restaurant is recently redecorated). I will definitely return!’

According to an infographic published in the report, key traits of a genuine review are being ‘recent’, ‘first hand’, ‘relevant’ and ‘respectful and unbiased’

According to an infographic published in the report, key traits of a genuine review are being ‘recent’, ‘first hand’, ‘relevant’ and ‘respectful and unbiased’

Tripadvisor said that there are a number of reasons why reviews are rejected or removed, ‘ranging from community standards violations (such as the use of profanity) to fake review activity’

Tripadvisor said that there are a number of reasons why reviews are rejected or removed, ‘ranging from community standards violations (such as the use of profanity) to fake review activity’

Tripadvisor fraud investigators identified 65 new paid review sites

Tripadvisor blocked paid review submissions from a total of 372 different paid review sites

Tripadvisor fraud investigators discovered 65 new paid review sites. It blocked submissions of paid reviews from 372 different paid sites

Tripadvisor said: ‘The report highlights the important steps Tripadvisor is taking to protect travellers, diners and businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic, with the introduction of new community standards designed to prevent the spread of Covid-19 misinformation and protect businesses that have been keeping customers safe.’

Marie Audren, CEO of HOTREC (the Association of Hotels, Restaurants and Cafes in Europe), said: ‘Over the years, consumer reviews have become an important resource for millions in helping them to make informed decisions and never more so than now.

‘On the other hand, fake reviews harm businesses and mislead consumers. We urge all platforms that they behave honestly and diligently. This is why we highly value Tripadvisor’s latest report that shows the work that goes on behind the scenes to protect travellers from fake reviews.’

Europe is the region that posted the most Tripadvisor reviews in 2020

Europe is the region with the most Tripadvisor Reviews in 2020

Becky Foley, head of Trust and Safety at Tripadvisor, said: ‘Two years ago, we were the first major review platform to issue a transparency report that detailed the “what, why and how” behind our work to protect travellers from fake reviews. We stated then that the industry must come together to combat fake reviews. Since then, other review sites have followed our lead by sharing more information about their own efforts to moderate reviews. Collaboration is still possible.

‘We know from our investigations that if a fraudster is trying to infiltrate Tripadvisor with fake reviews, then they are targeting other platforms as well – and they will always follow the path of least resistance. We must stay committed, working together and in cooperation with law enforcement agencies, to stop fake reviewers and protect travellers.’

Reviewers gave businesses and locations on Tripadvisor an average rating of 4.30 out 5.0 in 2020. This was up from 4.22 out 5.0 in 2018.

Click here for the complete report 

Marie Audren, CEO of HOTREC (the Association of Hotels, Restaurants and Cafes in Europe), said: ‘Fake reviews harm businesses and mislead consumers'

Marie Audren, CEO of HOTREC (the Association of Hotels, Restaurants and Cafes in Europe), said: ‘Fake reviews harm businesses and mislead consumers’