How to Avoid Fake Reviews on Facebook & Twitter

Posted on August 22, 2014 
Filed Under Brand Building, Content Marketing Strategy, Facebook, General, Internet Marketing, Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Networking, Social Networks, Twitter

Before making a purchase decision, people read reviews, feedback, testimonials or opinions on the web. If the reviews are positive, there is a greater probability of purchase. However, if the reviews are negative, people are likely to move on to something else. Therefore, positive opinions or reviews play crucial role in financial gains of individuals, organizations, and businesses. But, unfortunately, this leads to shady practices, like the posting of fake reviews, or opinion spamming.

fake-reviewsThe term opinion spamming refers to unethical activities such as posing fake reviews that mislead the consumers, for example: writing good things about a product that doesn’t merit the glowing review. Fake reviews also come in the form of negative opinions about competing products and businesses. This damages the reputation of the competition. It becomes obvious why detecting fake reviews is critical for both the consumer, and a business.

Detection or identification of fake reviews or opinion spamming involves the use of relational modeling, graph-based methods, pattern discovery, and supervised learning. Some of the signals that can be used include:

  • Relationships: The complexity of relationships that exists among the entities (products, stores, etc), reviews, and reviewers
  • Product related features: Some of the features that could be considered include sales rank, sales volume, and product description
  • Reviewer abnormal behaviors: The public data that is available from online sites, like first reviewers of the product, frequency of posting, time of posting, reviewer id, etc. In addition to these features, the opinion spamming detection algorithm can also discover uncommon characteristics of these fake reviews. Another indicator of abnormal behaviors is the private/internal data of websites such as the reviewer’s physical location, time taken to post each review, IP or MAC addresses, etc
  • Review Content: Some of the important detecting features include lexical features like parts-of-speech, grammar, words and grammar, or other lexical attributes. Style or content similarity of reviews obtained from different reviewers can also indicate opinion spamming. Semantic inconsistency is another feature that can be used for detecting fake reviews.

In addition to the above, you can also avoid fake reviews by avoiding fake accounts that exist on social media.

This is done by checking for the blue verified tick prior to liking or following a business’s, celebrity’s or brand’s social media profile or page. Both Twitter and Facebook now feature the blue verified tick. The blue tick badge that appears next to the profile name shows that the profile or page has been verified. Therefore, you must understand that a profile or page of any business or individual having lots of followers, likes, or positive comments, does not necessarily indicate its validity or genuineness.

facebook-verified-page

Vine, a video app, also features a verified tick. If the Twitter account of the business or the individual is verified, then the Vine account will be automatically verified. However, another renowned social media network, Instagram, doesn’t feature verified badges. If you are in doubt, you must check the account’s official website. Genuine Instagram accounts always show links to business’s official website.

On Twitter, this is how you can avoid fake accounts:

  • Identify the verified badge that appears at the top-right location of the business’ or individual’s profile page
  • However, if the badge does appear anywhere else, you should avoid it because it’s not verified
  • The accounts that use a picture of the badge as background image, profile picture, or any other way are subject to suspension by Twitter due to attempt to deceive the users.
  • The badge usually maintains its color even when the profile page background is customized.

On Facebook, profile pages of popular businesses and brands can be identified as authentic by observing the blue badge which appears next to the page’s or profile’s name. Those pages or profiles which don’t have the blue badge can be regarded as authentic if they have official website links.

But how do you keep negative reviews away from your own product or brand on social media? Simply by staying away from fake accounts. “Real people” are less likely to leave fake reviews because they are accountable. Fake reviews are more likely to come from fake accounts. How to spot them? Check for their profile pictures, number of friends, and activity on their wall. For example, a profile with 10 friends and no profile picture is a red flag. As long as you are connected to real people who interact regularly with their friends, you should be safe from most fake reviews.

Related Post:

Encouraging User Reviews for Your Products & Services


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