Britain’s competition regulator started a formal investigation into whether Amazon and Google may not have done enough to prevent or remove fake reviews. Along with regulators in the United Sates and the European Union, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has stepped up its scrutiny of big tech firms in recent years.
The British regulator said that it will gather more information to decide if the firms may have broken consumer law. Both Google and Amazon said that they were continuing to assist the CMA. Last year, CMA action over the trading of fake reviews resulted in Facebook, Instagram and eBay by removing groups. They also banned individuals for buying and selling fake reviews on their sites. Google said that it would delay blocking tracking cookies on its Chrome browser following intervention by the CMA.
The investigation starts from the reviews in May 2020 by the CMA. They are focusing on the internal systems and processes of several platforms for identifying and dealing with fake reviews. The CMA’s Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli said that their worry is that millions of online shoppers could be misled by reading fake reviews and waste their money by believing those recommendations. The CMA said it has not reached a view on whether Amazon and Alphabet’s Google have broken the law. But if it concludes they have broken consumer protection law, then it can take enforcement action. Both Amazon and Google said that they would continue to assist the CMA with its enquiries.