Meta is updating its community feedback policy to begin cracking down on people and companies that abuse its review system.
In the future, Facebook will enforce stricter rules (opens in a new tab) about what is allowed in comment posts. Apparently, some users and companies were gaming the community comment system to trick people or manipulate reviews. Meta wants to keep things as honest as possible and (ideally) make sure people have a positive experience on Facebook.
Before this update, Facebook used to do manipulative reviews, but now it's written on the Terms and Policies page (opens in a new tab). Enforcing honesty and transparency on the world's largest social media platform seems like a no-brainer, and a long time coming, but better late than never.
The policy update includes five new changes that affect two features of Facebook Shops: "Ratings and Reviews" and "Questions and Answers." A Facebook representative told TechRadar that these features only appear in the US version of Shops, so only users in the US will be affected. As for other countries, the representative vaguely stated that Meta will share more information in the future.
The first change is that users can't now use reviews to "distort [or] "scam" people for money or gifts. Reviews or incentivized posts are no longer allowed unless they are part of a larger brand deal (Opens in a new tab). Meta defines incentive as a business offering a cash reward or refund in exchange for leaving a good review on their page.
Next, a review post must be relevant to the reviewer's company, product, and experience. Spam will also be further moderated, according to Meta, which includes "high-frequency posting, sharing, and sending of content." [and] promotion.” And the latest change is a stricter enforcement of offensive content. Meta doesn't want users to threaten others or post graphic content in a group, for example.
Meta says that these changes are designed to ensure that its platform remains a place of trust. You want the community reviews to maintain a degree of integrity and authenticity so that people can make informed purchases. As for businesses, Meta wants them to know that they will be protected from fraudulent claims or abuse under the new rules.
The company asks the community as a whole to report any violations they observe. Meta will then investigate the report. If you are found to be in violation of this policy, Facebook will remove your review notice and may ban you for repeated violations. For businesses that violate the rules, features such as access to labels and product listings may be removed.
Analysis: there is still room for improvement
Facebook has already cracked down on fake reviews. A report from the Competition and Markets Authority (opens in a new tab) (CMA) in the UK says the platform got rid of 16,000 groups exchanging fake reviews on Facebook and Instagram. And in March, Meta filed a lawsuit (opens in a new tab) against someone who ran a business specializing in posting fake reviews.
Good on Meta for cracking down on these fake reviews, but their work is far from done. Phishing scams are a big problem. A recent report from cybersecurity firm PIXM reveals that as many as 2,7 million Facebook users may have been affected by scams. It is important that you learn how to protect yourself against phishing scams. Fortunately, TechRadar has a guide that teaches you how to protect yourself.