Tripadvisor found nearly 1 million fake reviews submitted to the site last year

The logo for a travel website company TripAdvisor Inc is shown on a computer screen in this illustration photo in Encinitas, California May 3, 2016.      REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo
  • Tripadvisor removed nearly 1 million fake and fraudulent reviews from its platform in 2020.
  • The travel platform removed nearly 2 million reviews in total last year that did not comply with the site’s policies, according to a recent report.
  • Travel restrictions caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic led to a decrease in reviews overall on Tripadvisor last year.

Tripadvisor removed nearly 1 million fake and fraudulent reviews from its platform in 2020, the company said.

Tripadvisor analyzed all of the reviews on the site from 2020, and rejected or removed over two million reviews that did not comply with the travel site’s community standards, it said in a report released Wednesday.

3.6% of all submissions last year were identified as fake, according to data from Tripadvisor. A majority of the reviews, including the 1 million fake ones, were removed before they were published online.

Travelers submitted over 26 million reviews to the site in 2020, according to Tripadvisor. More than two million review submissions were removed or rejected from the platform for reasons such as community standard violations or fake activity, the report says. A large majority of the reviews taken down were flagged by Tripadvisor’s moderation team, not users or businesses.

Tripadvisor also penalized 34,605 properties for fraudulent activity and banned 20,299 member, it said.

Every review goes through a series of electronic checks before being posted online, suspicious reviews that do not meet Tripadvisor’s standards get flagged and evaluated by the company’s investigations team, the company said.

“Over the years consumer reviews have become an important resource for millions in helping them to make informed decisions and never more so than now,” said Marie Audren, CEO of HOTREC, an umbrella association of hotels, restaurants, bars, and cafes in Europe that works with Tripadvisor. “On the other hand, fake reviews harm businesses and mislead consumers. We urge all platforms to behave transparently and diligently.”

Travel restrictions caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic led to a decrease in reviews overall on Tripadvisor, the report states. In 2018, travelers left over 8 million reviews during the month of August, that number was cut by half in 2020, to approximately 4 million reviews. However, in 2020, travelers submitted over 8 million reviews for hotels, over 12 million reviews for restaurants, and over 4 million reviews for experiences, attractions, and activities, leaving overall higher reviews than compared to years prior according to Tripadvisor.