Mozilla acquires fake review detecting service Fakespot
Mozilla announced the acquisition of Fakespot, a service to detect fake reviews and scams, on May 2, 2023.
User reviews are a cornerstone of the Internet shopping experience. Other customers may leave reviews about products that they purchased, describing their experience with the products.
Most sites promote products with reviews over those that do not have as many or lower ratings; this has created an entire industry designed to artificially promote products through fake reviews.
Fakespot was created in 2016 to detect these fake reviews using machine learning. It does so by detecting patterns and similarities between different reviews.
Most fake review campaigns are not sophisticated. They may use copy and paste, come all from users from a specific region, are often very short, and may also have spelling and grammar mistakes. These patterns can be detected easily.
The service grades product reviews and also companies. Product ratings range from reliable to insufficient reliable, and company ratings are the average of all their product ratings on Fakespot.
The service is available as mobile applications, on the web and as browser extensions. All of these options remain available for users of the service. Mozilla will invest in the service to further strengthen it.
The organization plans to integrate the service into its open source Firefox web browser natively and to enhance it further to introduce unique features to Firefox.
Mozilla says: "The addition of Fakespot’s capabilities will make Firefox customers the best equipped to cut through deceptive reviews and shop with the confidence of knowing what they’re buying is high-quality and authentic."
The very first step might be the integration of the functionality of the Fakespot extension as a native Firefox service. It would then work automatically and users would not have to install an extension anymore to make use of it.
Fakespot works on a small number of large online shopping sites, including Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Best Buy or Shopify. Internet users may try it on the official website. All it takes is to paste the URL of a product into the form on the linked page and hit the analyze button.
Integration of Fakespot in Firefox gives the browser another unique selling point, provided that Mozilla adds features to it that are not supported by the extensions or web service. The service could benefit from adding more online shopping sites, as it is limited to just a handful of major sites currently.
Mozilla is using targeted acquisitions to strengthen its portfolio and revenue generating opportunities. Fakespot looks like a good fit for the organization, as it can bring a unique experience to Firefox that sets it apart from other browsers.
Now You: do you check reviews first before you are making online purchases?
Another bloat like Pocket. Why doesn’t make Mozilla just Add-Ons of this stuff?! A browser has to be small to avoid being attacked via additional code, that is not necessary for browsing.
I don’t want my browser to encourage me to buy certain products above others. That’s literally the opposite of what I want.
I do check reviews – myself. I can see suspicious review patterns myself. I wouldn’t even install something like this as an addon – it sounds like they discriminate against people from certain countries and against people with poor writing skills? Anyway, the real way to find out what’s going on with a product is to look at the 1 and 2 star reviews :) It would take very daring scammers to attempt to manipulate that, but this machine-generated vs machine-detected stuff is just a race to the bottom and it’s infuriating on so many levels that Mozilla thinks they should spend out on forcing their users to take part.
“Fakespot, a service to detect fake reviews and scams […] using machine learning”
I’m skeptical. Basically I’m not sure false positive detection may not pollute true positive detection.
Personally if i do read reviews I read them as I meet advertisements : curiosity. I happen to consider one or two as either authentic either sufficiently well argued to trigger the start of a possible interest which then leads to confirmation or not of the value of the time spent to further investigate.
“Fakespot” is a generic naming which is used by several “fake review and scam” detectors.
– Searching for “Fakespot” I found [https://www.fakespot.com/]
– Firefox has a “fakespot” extension available : [https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/fakespot-fake-reviews-amazon/] associated with its homepage at [https://intercom.help/fakespot/en/]
Not sure what “Fakespot” company was acquired by Mozilla.
For my part I already know that such a feature won’t be used here.
Generally speaking I’m terribly, maybe excessively cautious with whatever process, AI or not, coming into between myself and an information, an intervention I perceive as an intrusion. Old school here : I prefer finding out by myself, trying to find out at least, and experience is a great help, experience of life, of people, of psychology, of disinformation, manipulation, lies, disguised truth … being a senior is an advantage in this area.
The sites you linked all belong to the service described by this article. The intercom site is not a homepage, but rather a support page and links directly back to Fakespot.com.
I’ve used the add-on from time-to-time with mixed results. The idea is good, but the AI needs to be significantly improved before the service could be considered at all reliable. At this point, like you, I tend to trust my own discernment far more than some third-party service.
We’ll see what Mozilla does with this, but I would prefer these service remain add-ons, and not be turned into more bloatware like Pocket.
@BobT, thanks for the clarification.
> The intercom site is not a homepage, but rather a support page and links directly back to Fakespot.com.
Indeed that link was on the above mentioned extension’s AMO page and described as the ‘Support Site’ and not the ‘Homepage’ : both are so often the same that I made the mistake to conclude they were as well for that extension.
> I’ve used the add-on from time-to-time with mixed results. The idea is good, but the AI needs to be significantly improved before the service could be considered at all reliable.
That’s always what I fear as well with AI : its reliability, less generally speaking (a topic far above my skills) then when applied, crafted for a specific task. I’m not even sure that AI is the right word when we’ve had for years sophisticated algorithms as ell as “expert systems” which didn’t systematically describe themselves as built by/with AI. “AI” is the trend and i wonder it’s not often misused to bring some aura to the work :=)
Regarding “senior”. When I was younger, I fortunately found myself to be what is called “lillgammal” very early in life, so it happened that I was getting annoyed when other “youngsters”, and careless adults of course, didn’t think stuff through well enough before make a big mistake or rushing into something, just to regret it, and perhaps hear me say “I told you so” ;)