Is That Facebook Review Fake? Here’s How to Tell

Adam Dorfman

As long as reviews continue to be a vital part of your company’s online reputation, fake reviews will continue to be an issue. Competitors might post a negative review on one of your Facebook pages. There are the cases of mistaken identity and disgruntled former employees that can turn your stellar rating into a dismal one overnight.

But, what is considered a fake review on Facebook? In other words, what does the social media giant have to say about this issue? Beyond this, how can you spot these false online reviews on your company’s Facebook page?

Couple sitting outside looking at a phone together while eating.

Consumers use social media to research local businesses, so your reviews should be authentic.

What is a Fake Facebook Review?

While Facebook encourages its users to leave reviews of local businesses, it is also making it far too easy to leave fake reviews. According to a recent investigation by consumer association Which?, there are thousands of posts on Facebook alone that offer money for fake online reviews.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) takes a dim view of fake reviews and launched its first case against a retail website in early 2019. But, you can’t count on the government fighting your battles, so information is power.

A fake review is one written by someone that has not actually used the product or service. It might be paid or could just be posted by an employee, ex-employee, family member, or someone else that either wants to promote a company or see it suffer.

Facebook doesn’t have crystal clear guidelines on this, but its Community Standards do require that people use authentic identities and refrain from posting fraudulent or untrue statements. Managing your social media profiles is challenging enough; now you need to know how to spot fake reviews on Facebook.

(Download our report: How to Improve Your Reputation with Effective Social Media Management for more information on using these platforms to help your business.)

Related: How to Tell if Reviews are Fake: Spot Fake from Real Reviews

Man sitting at a table typing on a laptop and looking at his phone.

Use these tips to stop fake reviews on your business’s Facebook page.

How to Spot Fake Reviews on Facebook

Facebook reports that one-third of people using the platform search for local business “recommendations.” If your profile is loaded with bad reviews that happen to be fake, this is not going to provide visitors with an accurate representation of your business.

Here are some of the ways you can tell those Facebook reviews are fake:

1. The review is overly positive or overly negative.

A balanced review isn’t going to be gushing or scathing. There are likely going to be some positive and negative things to point out about a business and its products or services.

If a review leans too far in either direction, it might be suspect. While there are certainly exceptions to this rule, these are posts that could use some extra scrutiny.

2. The review lacks detail.

When people make money writing fake reviews, they don’t take the time to collect the details about a business. It’s tough to describe something you haven’t experienced, so if everything was “perfect” or “awful,” but there are no descriptions of the particular features of the product or experience, this could be a fake review.

3. The review is very short and lacks substance.

People tend to write longer reviews when they’ve used the product or service. There might be some storytelling elements involved that describe how the company succeeded or failed to solve a pain point. When a review is fake, you’ll find much less substance.

4. The reviewer has no friends. 

If you suspect that a review might be fake, click on the reviewer’s profile. If they have no “friends” and just joined Facebook, this is a massive red flag.

Another sure sign of a fake review is when the reviewer is related or otherwise connected to a competitor or ex-employee. Likewise, anyone that posts multiple reviews per day could be a paid reviewer.

Spotting those fake reviews is only the beginning. Once you know what you’re dealing with, you can begin to take some action and try to get those reviews removed from your profile. This is just one of the things that you should be doing to manage your online reputation.

Keep Reading: The Facebook Outage: How to Manage a Large Scale Crisis

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