Firefox will soon tell you if product reviews are reliable
Mozilla is testing a new technology in Firefox currently that analyzes reviews on ecommerce sites to help shoppers make buying decisions.
Most ecommerce sites support reviews in some form or another. Amazon allows customers to leave reviews and rate products. This data is often used by sites, for instance to determine the visibility of a product.
Shady organizations discovered early on that fake reviews can push sales. It is therefore no surprise that these are used widely.
While it is sometimes easy for online shoppers to detect fake reviews, e.g., when a number of reviews looks similar or uses more or less the same review text, it is almost impossible to distinguish certain fake reviews from legitimate ones.
Fakespot was created for that purpose. The free web service uses "AI to detect fake reviews and scams" on a selection of US-based ecommerce sites. Sites include Amazon, BestBuy and a handful of others. We reviewed Fakespot back in 2018.
Mozilla acquired Fakespot earlier this year and is now in the process of integrating it natively into Firefox. It is still available on the Web and also for other browsers besides Firefox.
Fakespot integration in Firefox
Fakespot analyzes reviews on supported platforms to return a rating to the user. Ratings use A to F grades Fakespot may adjust the rating of a product based on its analysis.
Firefox displays a sidebar automatically when users visit a product on a supported ecommerce site. It can be closed and a small icon in the address bar toggles the display as well. A user control will likely be integrated at one point, so that users may turn off the feature if they don't need it.
The Review Checker provides the same rating assessment as the Fakespot extension at the time. It may show an adjusted rating and also "highlights from recent reviews".
The native integration makes use of the Trusted Deals feature to sometimes list alternate products to the user with better reviews. This adds another source of income and may be another baby-step to reduce the reliance on money from search engine deals.
Firefox for Android and iOS will also get the integration, but there is no sidebar on the mobile platforms. Users activate it with a tap on the icon in the address bar; this displays an overlay that lists the same information as the desktop version of Firefox.
Fakespot's service is US-centric at the moment. The service supports US ecommerce sites only at the time of writing and is therefore only useful to Firefox users from the United States. Mozilla may have plans to extend reviews to other geographical regions and countries, but has not made any announcement in this regard.
The usefulness of the assessment depends largely on the popularity of a product. Products with a handful of ratings may receive a low ranking or no ranking based on just that.
The assessment of popular products on the other hand may be useful, however, especially if Fakespot detects a discrepancy between the listed rating and its rating.Advertisement