Fake Reviews: Can We Trust What We Read Online As Use of AI Explodes?

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  Fake Reviews: Can we trust what we read online as use of AI explodes?

Excerpt from The Guardian

Artificial intelligence produces plausible verdicts on hotels, restaurants and tech in an instant

The four-star hotel in Kraków in Poland, the review says, is “excellent”, a “short walk from the main square” and boasts a “first-rate” spa and fitness centre. A less positive review describes it as “small, cramped and outdated” with “lumpy” pillows. But then a family who stayed said they were made to feel “instantly welcome”.

The truth is that none of those reviews are real. They were generated in seconds by the free-to-use artificial intelligence tool ChatGPT. These “visitors” definitely didn’t stay at the hotel, as they don’t exist.

Fake online reviews have long existed and are often not difficult to spot: tortured and mangled English, and excessive praise mixed with blandness to hide the fact the “reviewer” has been nowhere near the actual hotel or restaurant.

AI is turning that upside down – generating fake reviews that are increasingly more difficult to distinguish from those written by the average traveller or restaurant-goer. Indeed, one sign that a review is fake will be that the sentence structure is a bit too perfect.

Until now, the fake review business has been largely centred on online sweatshops, where people are paid to write multiple posts to boost a business’s rating.

Tripadvisor identified 1.3m reviews as fake in 2022. Trustpilot removed 2.7m fake reviews in 2021.

The number of fake reviews that Google blocks or removes is astonishing – it told Guardian Money that in 2022 it blocked or removed a total of 115m fake reviews of hotels, restaurants and businesses. Consumers are being hit with industrial levels of fakery in an attempt to obtain their business.

Tripadvisor acknowledges that AI-generated fake reviews will present new challenges as it tries to weed out the genuine from the fake. In its admirably detailed review transparency report 2023, the site said: “We expect to see attempts from businesses and individuals to use tools like ChatGPT to manipulate content on Tripadvisor.”

Guardian Money tested ChatGPT, probably the best-known AI tool, asking it to write a review of a hotel in Kraków that I visited. On the first attempt it refused. It said: “I’m sorry … I do not generate negative or false reviews … it goes against my programming to generate fake or misleading information.”

But this reassurance did not last long. Minutes later, with just a little tweaking, it was pumping out fake review after fake review – and startlingly plausible ones at that – of any hotel, restaurant or product it was asked about.

It even formatted the hotel reviews – with a star rating from one to five, followed by a title of the review, then a main body of text containing the review itself. We did not ask it for this format – and it is striking that it is identical to the one used by Tripadvisor.

It produced reviews for us in the style of a business traveller, a couple, a solo traveller, families, LGBTQ+ travellers, etc. It also did so in a variety of languages.

Click here to read complete article at The Guardian.

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About Mary Weyand 12324 Articles
Mary founded Scoop Tour with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research. With ample knowledge about the Automobile industry, she also contributes her knowledge for the Automobile section of the website.

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