Tools and Skills

Seven tools to fight fake reviews, fake news, fake followers, and more

Fraud Way

A 2016 study found that the overwhelming majority of participants admitted to not being completely honest online. Why? “Because everyone lies on the internet.”

Whether it’s designer goods, news, or user reviews, it can be tough to separate fact from fiction.

Check out seven awesome tools to fight fake reviews, fake news, fake followers, and more.

Fake Reviews

Yes, that five-star Amazon review might very well be a fake. You can protect yourself from scams by entering the questionable item’s url into Fakespot.com. The online tool analyzes Amazon reviews and reviewer accounts for suspicious content, writing styles, dates, and purchasing patterns, before returning a Fakespot grade based on review quality.

Fake News

It should come as little surprise that the internet has become ground zero for misinformation – Buzzfeed reports that in the 2016 election cycle, top fake news stories received more engagement than top stories from major news outlets. Despite increased awareness of this problem, bogus headlines continue to win clicks. As you scroll your Facebook and Twitter feeds, avoid being duped by false information by installing the B.S. Detector extension for Chrome and Firefox, which will search pages for links to unreliable domains, as compiled by OpenSources.

Fake Twitter Followers

Donald Trump, Justin Bieber, and Katy Perry all have something in common: about half their Twitter followers are fake. The social platform is home to millions of spam accounts, and many services offer followers for sale. Curious about the authenticity of your own followers, or those of another celebrity? Twitter Audit allows you to enter any username to find the account’s percentage of real followers. Twitter Audit says it samples 5000 of a user’s followers, and determines if these accounts are real or fake based on number of tweets, date of the last tweet, and ratio of followers to friends.

Fake Instagram Feeds

Instagram follower tallies may be even more suspicious, as users can buy fake followers and likes from vending machines (in Russia, at least). Marketers and brands looking to advertise on Instagram should be especially aware of this problem in order to avoid partnering with bogus accounts. FollowerCheck can help vet accounts, and this guide offers tips to spot fake followers.

Fake Designer Goods

Digital deception is a growing trend, but that doesn’t mean the trade in counterfeit merchandise is slowing down. Counterfeits now account for more than 2.5% of all world trade, and are projected to have a global value of $2.3 trillion by 2022. Shoppers and retailers can arm themselves with tech tools designed to identify fake goods, such as the anti-counterfeiting app uFaker, which allows users to report and track counterfeits.

Additionally, a new tech device, entropy, allows users to scan designer handbags for authenticity. The device runs photographs of the item through artificial intelligence algorithms, and claims to identify knockoffs with 96.4% accuracy.

Fake Fish

Put down that spicy tuna roll – according to a study by nonprofit Oceana, 33% of fish samples from retail locations were mislabeled, including fish from every sushi restaurant tested in New York. For those wanting to avoid “Ex-Lax fish,” a good bet is to avoid tuna completely, or to find where your fish is coming from using Oceana’s Global Fishing Watch interactive tools to track commercial fishing.

Innovative seafood suppliers, such as Red’s Best and Sea to Table, use seafood-tracking software to verify fish labeling, as well as to support small, sustainable fisheries.