Fake and misleading online reviews trading

Instagram, Facebook and eBay platforms take action to tackle the trading of fake and misleading reviews.


9 April 2021: In response to CMA action, Facebook has gone further to combat the trade of fake and misleading reviews on its sites (Facebook.com and Instagram.com). Facebook has agreed further changes to its systems for identifying, removing and preventing such content on its social media platforms to ensure it is fulfilling commitments previously provided to the CMA in 2020. This followed a CMA investigation of these websites, which found evidence that the illegal trade in fake and misleading reviews was still taking place on both Facebook and Instagram.

These changes include:

  • suspending or banning users who are repeatedly creating Facebook groups and Instagram profiles that promote, encourage or facilitate fake and misleading reviews
  • introducing new automated processes that will improve the detection and removal of this content
  • making it harder for people to use Facebook’s search tools to find fake and misleading review groups and profiles on Facebook and Instagram
  • putting in place dedicated processes to make sure that these changes continue to work effectively and stop the problems from reappearing

Press notice: CMA intervention leads to further Facebook action on fake reviews (9.4.21)

22 May 2020: The CMA has secured commitments from Instagram, which is operated by Facebook, to tackle the risk that people can buy and sell fake and misleading reviews through the platform.

This builds on the CMA’s previous work on fake and misleading reviews, where it identified the trade of fake and misleading reviews on Facebook and eBay and secured commitments from those two platforms to tackle this issue.

Instagram has:

  • committed to updating and revising its policy guidelines to clarify that it prohibits fake and misleading review content across its website
  • taken down the content that the CMA had identified and brought to its attention
  • removed similar content that it identified itself
  • agreed to put in place robust systems to detect and remove this kind of harmful material from its website in the future
  • Instagram’s response to the CMA’s concerns (22.5.20)

The CMA is not alleging that Instagram intentionally allowed this content to appear on their website.

This work is part of a wider programme of work tackling fake and misleading online reviews.

8 January 2020: In response to CMA concerns, Facebook and eBay have taken action to tackle the trade of fake and misleading reviews on their websites.

The websites:

  • promptly took down the content that the CMA had identified and brought to their attention
  • removed similar content that they identified themselves
  • agreed to put measures in place that will help prevent this content from appearing on their websites in the future

The CMA has also recently brought to Facebook’s attention examples of fake and misleading reviews being offered for sale on Instagram (which Facebook operates). Facebook has committed to investigate the issue. The CMA will be seeking a commitment from Facebook to take action to tackle these further issues.

Launch of work programme

21 June 2019: The CMA has launched a programme of work aimed at tackling fake and misleading online reviews.

As a first step, the CMA has written to Facebook and eBay this week urging them to conduct an urgent review of their sites to prevent fake and misleading online reviews from being bought and sold. Both companies have indicated that they will cooperate with the CMA.

The CMA is not alleging that Facebook or eBay are intentionally allowing this content to appear on their websites.

This work builds on previous action in this area to protect shoppers from misleading information.


Assistant Director

Parul Shah (parul.shah@cma.gov.uk)


Jon Riley (jon.riley@cma.gov.uk)

Senior Responsible Officer

George Lusty (george.lusty@cma.gov.uk)

Published 21 June 2019
Last updated 9 April 2021 + show all updates
  1. Case update and Facebook’s action to address our competition concerns published.

  2. Case update, and Instagram's responses to CMA's concerns published

  3. Case update, and Facebook and eBay responses to CMA's concerns published.

  4. First published.