Shoppers ‘duped’ by millions of fake online reviews

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Dan Hyde writes: Half of the the population use online review websites such as Amazon, Tripadvisor, Expedia and Checkatrade - but can you trust everything you read?

Shoppers who use the internet to research hotels, books, electronics and other purchases are being misled by millions of "fake" reviews orchestrated by companies to trick potential customers, the consumer watchdog warns today as it begins an inquiry.

More than half of the adults in Britain, around 25 million people, use online review websites such as Amazon, Tripadvisor, Expedia and Checkatrade to find the best deals.

But their impressions are "distorted" by the growth of a "clandestine" market for fake reviews, the Competition and Market Authority has discovered.

It found some companies were breaking the law by writing flattering posts about themselves to boost their rankings.

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