Posting a fake TripAdvisor review can now land you in jail
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A man has been jailed in Italy for posting fake critiques on TripAdvisor in a landmark case.
A TripAdvisor reviewer has been jailed for nine months in prison in a landmark fraud ruling by an Italian court.
The unnamed owner of an Italian company that sold fake review packages to hotels, was sentenced to jail and ordered to pay €8,000 in costs and damages.
PromoSalento advertised €100 for 10 fake reviews, €170 for 20 and €240 for 30.
The company successfully posted fake reviews on behalf of several hundred businesses.
The court in Lecce ruled that writing fake reviews using a false identity is a crime under Italian criminal law.
TripAdvisor confirmed that it supported the prosecution by sharing evidence from its in-house fraud investigations.
Brad Young, TripAdvisor’s vice-president and associate general counsel, said: “We invest a lot in fraud prevention and we’re successful at tackling it: since 2015, we’ve put a stop to the activity of more than 60 different paid-review companies worldwide.”
TripAdvisor is also working with enforcement authorities including the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the US Federal Trade Commission.