Facebook got a lot of flak earlier in the year when it was suggested that it played a role in getting The Donald elected. Allegedly, the fake news spread via the social networking site might have influenced some voters. The social network responded to criticism by launching a ‘how to spot fake news’ campaign.
If you saw the campaign (it only ran for three days), then you’ll know that it’s pretty basic.
It doesn’t target the root of the problem; Tom Felle, a lecturer in digital journalism at City University told the BBC:
‘Until Facebook stops rewarding the architects of fake news with huge traffic, this problem will just get worse,’
We talk a lot about the importance of trust at Reevoo.
We think user-generated content keeps brands’ messages authentic. But that’s only the case if those browsing are sure that the UGC is real, the reviews aren’t fake, and they can trust what they’re looking at online.
So how do Facebook’s ten tips for spotting fake news work for spotting fake reviews?
1. Investigate the source
Agree! Making sure that reviews are authentic means knowing exactly who your review was written by.
That’s why we recommend a closed review system at Reevoo. The way to do it is to send every customer a review request, which means there’s no chance of a fake review (as only people that bought the product are contacted).
2. Look closely at the URL
Making sure your reviews and customer feedback are properly syndicated across retailers, manufacturers, price and product comparison sites, as well as Google, means that whatever the URL, the reviews should tell the same story.
3. Be skeptical of headlines
It’s not just about the headline: reviews should be structured to allow customers to give detailed feedback on all parts of the process so your marketing, R&D, and product teams can use the data and information to serve your customers better.
4. Watch for unusual formatting
Unusual formatting might actually be proof that the review is genuine – and not written by an over zealous marketing department. So typos are often a good thing.
But watch out if the language sounds a bit off kilter: the cunning minds in the marketing department might just be repeating the brand name or getting in a few keywords for SEO purposes.
5. Consider the photos
Photos are an important part of showing potential customers what it feels like to own and use your product or service.
Our Experiences feature allows brands to solicit for exactly the type of content they really need – which leads to us collecting some really amazing photos for our clients. Look at what we’ve done for British Airways Holidays. Would you prefer a wordy description of the Tuscan hills or a glorious photo?
6. Inspect the dates
A closed review system means you can ask customers for feedback at different stages of the purchase journey. Someone who has just bought a product and a veteran user are going to have a different experience, and that should be reflected in your reviews.
A good UGC platform will also collect content well-structured enough to let you to use different feedback at different moments in your customer’s journey.
7. Check the evidence
That’s a valuable piece of advice for brands and how they process feedback internally.
Make sure your teams are set up to receive the valuable feedback you get from customers and use it to refine and develop their offering.
8. Look at other reports
Some brands worry that asking customers for feedback might mean a bad review rears its head. Actually, bad reviews are massive trust builders. Research has shown that people are more likely to think reviews are genuine if they’re not all glowing.
9. Some stories are intentionally false
Fake reviews are a huge concern to people – according to our research earlier this year, 75% of shoppers are concerned about fake reviews. One way to completely avoid fraudulent reviews is to use a closed review system.
10. Is the story a joke?
Again, see above.
It’s also worth saying that you might as well respond to these reviews like a human rather than a robot. As Facebook knows well, the most ridiculous content goes viral; people like funny and entertaining stuff. Make sure your brand takes advantage of that too.
Facebook is faced with the unenviable task of working out whether news is fake or not after it’s published on its platform.
Your brand doesn’t have to deal with that nightmare if you opt for a closed review system and – though it might sound weird – trust in the power of bad reviews.