India is going after fake, paid reviews on social media

There has been a growing consumer outcry against such reviews on e-commerce websites and social media. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW DELHI - India will tighten rules to root out fake or paid reviews for products from cars to smartphones on e-commerce websites and social media, responding to a growing consumer outcry.

The government will soon announce a framework of regulations that target people paid to endorse merchandise, Mr Rohit Kumar Singh, the most senior bureaucrat at India's consumer affairs department, told reporters in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Such reviewers will be held liable in case of issues related to the product, he said.

India is a key market for Alphabet's Google and YouTube, which is closing in on half a billion users.

Some of the country's savvy early Internet users have gained huge followings by posting reviews of products on the platform, but most do not disclose whether they are paid by companies to do so.

The country is grappling with a phenomenon that other more mature Internet arenas have dealt with in past years.

With 600 million smartphones and cheap mobile data, more and more Indians are using the Internet to check out and buy everything from soap to smartphones. BLOOMBERG

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