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Govt to develop framework for checking fake reviews on e-commerce websites

After studying the present mechanism being followed by the E-Commerce entities in India and the best practices available globally, the Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) will develop these frameworks. (Courtesy Latent View Analytics website)Premium
After studying the present mechanism being followed by the E-Commerce entities in India and the best practices available globally, the Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) will develop these frameworks. (Courtesy Latent View Analytics website)

  • In a meeting, DoCA in association with the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) along with various stakeholders - discussed the magnitude and roadmap ahead for fake reviews on websites.

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The government on Saturday announced to develop framework to keep a check on fake reviews on E-Commerce websites. After studying the present mechanism being followed by the E-Commerce entities in India and the best practices available globally, the Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) will develop these frameworks.

In a meeting held today, the DoCA in association with the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) along with various stakeholders like E-Commerce entities, Consumer Forums, Law Universities, Lawyers, FICCI, CII, Consumer Rights Activists, and others - discussed the magnitude and roadmap ahead for fake reviews on websites.

Secretary DoCA, Rohit Kumar Singh said, "Traceability by ensuring the authenticity of the reviewer and the associated liability of the platform are the two key issues here. Also e-com players must disclose as to how they choose the “most relevant reviews" for display in a fair and transparent manner."

Along with Secretary DoCA, Nidhi Khare, Additional Secretary, and Anupam Mishra, Joint Secretary attended the meeting.

During the meeting, all stakeholders agreed that the issue deserves to be monitored closely and an appropriate framework governing the fake reviews may be developed to address the issue for the protection of consumer interest.

Further, stakeholders from e-commerce companies claimed that they have frameworks in place by which they monitor fake reviews and would be pleased to take part in developing a legal framework on the issue.

Manisha Kapoor, CEO, ASCI highlighted the categories of fake and misleading reviews and their impact on consumer interest. Paid reviews, unverifiable reviews, and the absence of disclosure in case of incentivised reviews which make it challenging for consumers to recognize genuine reviews were among the issues discussed.

According to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, since e-commerce involves a virtual shopping experience without any opportunity to physically view or examine the product, consumers heavily rely on reviews posted on e-commerce platforms to see the opinion and experiences of users who have already purchased the good or service.

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