Facebook and eBay have signed agreements pledging to combat the use of fake and misleading reviews on their sites.

Following an investigation by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) last year, both sites have responded to the CMA’s demand to take measures to better identify, investigate and respond to fake and misleading reviews.

Three quarters of consumers are influenced by online reviews, according to the CMA.

The CMA’s investigation into fake online reviews and the impact on consumer behaviour and concerns found fake reviews were influencing consumers to purchase inferior products on the belief that other consumers had enjoyed a positive experience with the product.

Under consumer protection law, fake and misleading reviews are illegal. The CMA argued that websites have a “responsibility to ensure that this unlawful and harmful content isn’t advertised or sold through their platforms”.

The CMA is not alleging that Facebook or eBay are intentionally allowing this content to appear on their websites. Facebook has already removed 188 groups and disabled 24 user accounts related to fake reviews, while eBay has permanently banned 140 users.

As Editor of Lawble, Gill helps business and individuals become better informed about their legal rights. Gill is a content specialist in the fields of law, tax and human resources.