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A new study in this week’s newsletter reveals an ‘alarming’ distrust among consumers when it comes to brands removing or censoring legitimate consumer reviews across the internet, with close on half saying they are very concerned about their freedom of speech.

The Critical role of reviews in Internet Trust report into the state of online trust highlights consumers’ concerns that online reviews are being tampered with by brands and that this is causing them to waste money they can’t afford to.

While the findings of the Trustpilot report show that consumers are increasingly reliant on customer reviews, with the vast majority saying they read reviews before buying online they are also wary of their legitimate feedback being manipulated by companies.

Peter Mühlmann, founder and CEO Trustpilot said, “The research is a clear sign that consumers are very aware of being manipulated in this era of fake news and distrust in institutions. When it comes to their interactions with companies online, they want to know that their feedback is being heard, and that this feedback is helping other consumers to see the full picture of a brand – the good, the bad and the in-between. Reviews are core to helping consumers navigate this complex ecommerce landscape, but there must be more transparency and explanation about how different platforms operate, including how they moderate, filter, flag, publish or remove reviews.”

Some of the opportunities and challenges thrown up by this research will be discussed in detail at our upcoming Customer Engagement Transformation conference in July. Look forward to seeing you there.

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