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Almost 1m Tripadvisor reviews in 2020 found to be fraudulent

Tripadvisor

Almost 1m Tripadvisor reviews in 2020 found to be fraudulent

Almost 1m reviews submitted for inclusion on Tripadvisor – equivalent to 3.6% of the total – were determined to be fraudulent by the website last year.

In its second transparency report – the first was released in 2019 – the travel guidance platform said 67.1% of the fake reviews had been caught before making it on to the platform by its pre-posting moderation algorithm.

In 2019, Tripadvisor rejected as “simplistic” analysis by consumer group Which? of 250,000 hotel reviews on its site, which found one in seven had “blatant hallmarks” of being fake.

The report, published on Wednesday, also provided details on paid reviews, the phenomenon that has grown out of businesses desire to boost their rankings with positive reviews and accrue the benefits of a high Tripadvisor rating.

The company said it removed paid reviews from 131 countries last year, including “a spike” in such reviews originating in India – but not necessarily for businesses in the country. As a result, India topped the list of countries from which the most paid reviews emanated last year, with Russia dropping out of the Top 10. Further, the company said its fraud investigators identified 65 new paid review sites and blocked submissions from a total of 372 different paid review sites last year.

The report said: “While our overall review contributions dropped in line with the slowdown in travel, fraudulent submissions – which of course are not predicated on real customer experiences – did not follow the same trend. Our team remained vigilant and effective at catching would-be fraudsters, and as a result the proportion of reviews we rejected or removed increased compared with pre-pandemic 2018 figures.”

While they may pose the biggest threat to the platform’s integrity and those of the businesses on it, fake reviews are not alone in being removed. In total, more than 2m review submissions (representing 8.6% the total) were rejected or removed from the Tripadvisor platform, for instance because they included use of profanity.

While travel restrictions imposed by Covid led to a reduction in submitted reviews – the number in August last year (approximately 4m) was half that in August 2018 – the virus also posed other challenges, which Tripadvisor said led to its team manually assessing an additional 257,022 reviews, of which 46,145 were removed by moderators for violating posting guidelines.

They included reviews containing encouragement to ignore government guidelines, discouraging testing or spreading misinformation, with racially insensitive comments including references to the “China” or “Wuhan” virus or criticising a business for introducing Covid safety measures.

In total, Tripadvisor penalised 34,605 properties for fraudulent activity and banned 20,299 members for failing to abide by the platform’s community standards last year.

Travellers submitted more than 26m reviews in total last year, more than 8m for hotels, more than 12m for restaurants, and more than 4m for experiences, attractions, and activities. Over half (54.1%) of submissions related to customer experiences in Europe, with 23.5% relating to North America.

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Business

New Naira Notes Ready For Issuance- CBN

Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has said the newly redesigned Naira notes are already in banks and ready for issuance.

In a statement on its official twitter handle, the CBN quoted Emefiele to have made the disclosure in Daura, Katsina State, while on a visit to brief the president on the Naira redesign and the recently reintroduced cashless policy.

“The newly redesigned N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes are now in banks and ready for issuance to members of the public,” the statement said.

The CBN governor clarified that the currency redesign and reintroduced cashless policies were not targeted at anybody but were for the good and development of the Nigerian economy, and urged Nigerians to embrace the various electronic channels available for banking and financial service transactions in Nigeria.

Emefiele further said the CBN deferred the cashless policy severally to prepare and deepen Nigeria’s payments system infrastructure.

He, therefore, advised Nigerians to take their old N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes to the banks before the January 31, 2023 deadline.

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Business

NIBSS Says e-Payment Transactions Hit N38.9trn In November

The Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Systems (NIBSS) has revealed that transactions worth N38.9 trillion were performed electronically in November through the NIBSS Instant Payment platform (NIP).

This is the highest monthly transaction record on the platform.

Compared with the N34.5 trillion recorded in the preceding month, the November figure also shows a 12.7 per cent increase.

The latest data also shows that the November figure brought the total value of NIP deals in the last 11 months to N345 trillion.

Year on year, the e-payment value increased by 50 per cent compared with the N25.9 trillion recorded in November last year.

The value of the e-payment recorded was a reflection of the increase in the volume of deals within the month. The NIP volume rose to 492.2 million in November, showing a 53.8 per cent increase over the N319.9 million recorded in the same period last year.

The NIP is an account-number-based, online-real-time Inter-Bank payment solution developed in the year 2011 by NIBSS. It is the Nigerian financial industry’s preferred funds transfer platform that guarantees instant value to the beneficiary.

According to NIBSS, over the years, Nigerian banks have exposed NIP through their various channels, that is, internet banking, bank branch, Kiosks, mobile apps, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), POS, ATMs, etc. to their customers.

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Business

CBN Insists It Won’t Reverse New Withdrawal Policy

Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank, says there would be no reversal on the new cash withdrawal policy adding that the limitations was not intended to hurt anyone.

He disclosed this on Thursday following his visit to President Muhammadu Buhari in Daura, Katsina State.

The National Assembly had earlier faulted the CBN’s unveiling of revised cash withdrawal limits with a maximum of N100,000 for individuals and N500,000 for companies, claiming that it might worsen the current economic situation.

But while reacting to the objections from the National Assembly and the public outcry over the cash withdrawal policy, Emefiele said;

“And we think Nigeria, as the biggest economy in Africa, needs to leapfrog into the cashless economy.

“We cannot continue to allow a situation where over 85 per cent of the cash that is in circulation is outside the bank.

“More and more countries that are embracing digitisation have gone cashless,” he said.

He added that there would be no rigidity on the policy and no reversal, appealing to Nigerians to embrace the new policy.

According to the Governor of the CBN, the new naira notes have already been disbursed to the various commercial banks and expects that the banks would begin distribution to the public.

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