TripAdvisor has announced that it blocked or removed over one million reviews that were fake or paid-for in 2022.
According to the Review Transparency Report, the company managed to catch 72% of the 1.3 million fraudulent reviews before they were published - an increase from 67% in 2020.
The report found that 24,521 reviews were linked to paid-for review companies, with almost half of them based in India, Russia, Turkey, Italy, Vietnam and the United States.
Additionally, more than 33,000 businesses received a ranking penalty for fraud, and 341 received red badge warnings and had their ranking downgraded.
In 2018, the Italian courts handed down the first conviction of its kind, sentencing the owner of a company that sold fake review packages to businesses to nine months in jail.
Moreover, in the year following the Italian court’s conviction, a Which? Travel investigation accused TripAdvisor of not being able to prevent a surge of fake five-star reviews, which were artificially inflating the ratings of several top-raking hotels, including the Travelodge brand. However, TripAdvisor disputed the analysis at the time, stating that it was flawed.
TripAdvisor has been under pressure from the hospitality industry to tackle the issue of false reviews on its site. The report shows that the company’s approach appears to be working, and that the community can rely on trustworthy content, allowing businesses to compete fairly.
Becky Foley, vice president of trust and safety at TripAdvisor, commented:
"TripAdvisor is built on trust, and we will never stop improving our systems to ensure our community has access to reliable content and the businesses listed can compete on a level playing field.
The findings from this report show that our approach is working; we’re catching a higher proportion of fraudulent content before it is published, with nearly three-quarters of fake reviews never even making it to the platform."