The website Tripadvisor has celebrated the “unprecedented” sentence of the Criminal Court of Lecce, in Italy, which has sentenced to 9 months in prison and to pay 8,000 euros to the owner of PromoSalento, which sold packages of false opinions to the country’s hospitality businesses.
“Fraud of paid opinions, that is, when companies or individuals sell false comments to business owners, is a violation of the law in many jurisdictions, but this is one of the first cases that results in a criminal conviction,” he said. pointed Tripadvisor, who participated as a civil claimant in the case against PromoSalento, providing support to the Italian legal advisors.
The website has said that “fraud is taken very seriously” in the opinions, and has recalled that it has advanced tracking technology and a dedicated team of researchers to “catch” paid opinion companies.
TripAdvisor has indicated that it also works with security forces and bodies, such as the Authority of Competition and Markets of the United Kingdom and the Federal Trade Commission of the United States, sharing information and supporting their efforts in the fight against false opinions online.
60 FALSE CLOSED OPINIONS COMPANIES
The vice president and associate general counsel of the company, Brad Young, has considered the ruling as “a historic moment for the Internet.” “We invested heavily in fraud prevention and we achieved it successfully: since 2015, we have put an end to the activity of more than 60 paid opinions companies around the world,” he celebrates.
Along the same lines, the president of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics in the World Tourism Organization (WTO), Pascal Lamy, explains that online opinions play an important role in tourism and consumer purchasing decisions, for what “it is important that everyone follows the rules”.
“False opinions clearly violate the guidelines of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics, which we published last year to protect the responsible use of experiences and opinions on digital platforms,” he says. Tripadvisor participates in the preparation of these recommendations, along with other opinion platforms such as MiNube and Yelp.
EMAIL TO AVOID FRAUD
To avoid fraud, the website also has the email firstname.lastname@example.org, in which companies contacted by sellers of false opinions can denounce this illegality.
“All notices sent to our Content Integrity team will be investigated and any information, no matter how small, can help,” he adds.
In addition, TripAdvisor has recently launched a new online resource for information on how the company moderates opinions and protects its content.