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Teen Fights Against Fake Online Reviews :: WRAL.com

For years, Google, Yelp, and Amazon have fought fake reviews, and now so does Nextdoor.

Ben Poovey is working alongside it to bring old, dull headlights back to life. But, he said he turned into an investigator after something weird happened with a rave review from a real customer on Nextdoor.

Poovey noticed comments from eight different accounts questioning his process. The posts also specifically recommended another local business.

“After thinking about how dodgy these profiles were, I ended up Google-searching all of their profile pictures,” Poovey said. “When I Googled ‘Ashley Johnson,’ I found something from Johnson Consulting, which is a consulting company in Tampa. I thought that was a little odd.”

The next name Poovey sought was “Ann Harrison”. He said that name also gave strange results.

“I found a page on heapfuneral.com that said she died in 2014 in Pennsylvania. After researching it said she joined Nextdoor in 2019, so obviously something is going on there “said Poovey.

Poovey then contacted a man in California whose photos were used by one of the profiles.

“We contacted Chris Anderson at UC Berkeley with the screenshot of his profile and the comments he made. He replied that it was definitely not me [and] thanks for letting me know,” Poovey recalled.

This is called review hijacking – or a negative review attack, and it happens more often.

“What I always tell people to do is you have to look at multiple platforms,” ​​Jason Brown said.

Brown is the creator of https://reviewfraud.org, a company that removes fake online reviews.

“Basically, the same people you can hire to post fake positive reviews will actually be selling services where they can actually post fake negative reviews,” Brown explained.

Brown said Poovey’s negative reviews on Nextdoor was the first time he had seen him on that social media website.

Brown said there are ideas about who is behind the attacks.

Negative reviews impact everyone and serve as a reminder to be very careful when reading reviews.

“As long as there is an incentive to make money from these platforms through reviews – whether positive or negative – it will continue until the platforms have to check themselves in, get tough and start to weed out the bad actors,” says Brun.

Poovey eliminated bad actors from this Nextdoor thread by adding his research to the post so readers could see that the negative reviews were fake.

“After being called out to all, they ended up being deleted,” Poovey said.

The owner of another local business named in the negative reviews told 5 On Your Side he would look into the situation.

A Nextdoor spokesperson said the company “will continue to monitor the situation” and that users who see violations should contact the company.


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