- Twitter urged to suspend Tory Party Twitter account after it ‘misled’ the public 6 Years Ago
- This former stripper has the best Humans of New York story of all time 6 Years Ago
- How to watch tonight’s 2020 Democratic debate 6 Years Ago
- ‘Dollface’ offers a narrow vision of womanhood Today 3:56 PM
- There’s a perfectly good reason why we can’t buy official Baby Yoda merch yet Today 3:00 PM
- Trump’s handwritten ‘I WANT NOTHING’ note gets memed Today 12:57 PM
- Facebook quietly launched a meme generator app called Whale Today 12:40 PM
- How to watch tonight’s fire Warriors vs. Mavericks matchup online Today 12:14 PM
- Android security flaw could have let hackers hijack your phone’s camera Today 12:10 PM
- How Julia Roberts playing Harriet Tubman became a meme Today 12:01 PM
- Woman banned from Instagram for sharing d*ck pic she didn’t ask for (updated) Today 11:55 AM
- People risking concussions for new TikTok challenge Today 11:14 AM
- A ‘Joker’ sequel could be in the works from Warner Bros. (updated) Today 11:06 AM
- Is Jake Paul going to fight again? There are plenty of clues Today 10:57 AM
- Ghostemane concert abruptly canceled amid ‘safety concerns’ and reported gun threat Today 10:41 AM
Study explains why people write fake negative reviews online
It’s not just competitors trying to kill a rival business.
The New York Times reported on a study of people who leave fake negative reviews on sites like Yelp or Amazon for products they’ve never owned or businesses they’ve never been to.
It’s one thing to falsify positive reviews—it’s easy enough to guess which ones were left by the owners or employees of a business—but bogus negative reviews aren’t as well-understood. They’re often thought to be left by competitors trying to turn people away, but a new study from MIT’s Sloan School of Management and Northwestern University says that’s not usually the case.
The study looked at 325,000 reviews of an apparel company and found 16,000 cases where it appeared that, despite the reviewers’ claims that they’d purchased the product, they actually hadn’t. Most of those 16,000 reviews were negative.
Most of the complaints came from people who didn’t like a redesign of a product they saw on the page, even though they already owned a previous model, or who disapproved of a company’s business practices, such as importing clothing made outside the United States.
According to the Times, the study concluded that people leaving these reviews are acting as “self-appointed brand managers.” They take the redesign or issue of an item they don’t like, from a company they use, to be a personal affront. They are not reviewing the product, they’re expressing a somewhat related opinion on another aspect of the business. This distorts the process of Web feedback, making it generally unreliable.
One of the study’s authors, Duncan Simester, told the Times people should take online reviews with a grain of salt—they don’t necessarily represent public opinion of a product.
“For every thousand customers, only about 15 write these reviews — and one of them is writing negative reviews of products he hasn’t bought. How surprised should we be that one out of a thousand people do something we have trouble understanding?”
His proposed solutions to the problem include only allowing customers to review products they have bought, or opening up a general discussion forum where customers can give feedback.
Gaby Dunn is an actress, comedian, and blogger who covered YouTube for the Daily Dot. Since 2016, she’s hosted the podcast ‘Bad with Money,’ and operates a successful YouTube channel. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, Vice, and Salon.