The Centre on Monday (21 November) launched a framework to curb fake reviews on e-commerce websites.
Consumer Affairs secretary Rohit Kumar Singh along with senior officers of the department and Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) launched the framework titled Indian Standard (IS) 19000:2022 ‘Online Consumer Reviews — Principles and Requirements for their Collection, Moderation and Publication'.
The standards will be applicable to every online platform which publishes consumer reviews.
The standard will initially be voluntary for compliance by all e-commerce platforms.
BIS will also develop a Conformity Assessment Scheme for the standard to assess compliance.
In a statement, the Consumer Affairs Ministry said that the guiding principles of the standard are integrity, accuracy, privacy, security, transparency, accessibility and responsiveness.
The standard prescribes specific responsibilities for the review author and the review administrator.
"For review author, these include confirming acceptance of terms and conditions, providing contact information and for review administrator, these include safeguarding personal information and training of staff," the ministry said.
Once made mandatory, if required, the violation of the standards by any entity may be considered as an unfair trade practice or violation of consumer rights and a consumer may submit such grievances to the National Consumer Helpline, Consumer Commissions or the CCPA, it added.
The standard provides for responsibilities of organisation including developing a code of practice, and necessary stipulations for terms and conditions like accessibility, criteria, and ensuring content does not contain financial information etc.
It also provides for methods for verification of review author through email address, identification by telephone call or SMS, confirming registration by clicking on a link, using captcha system etc., to check traceability and genuineness of the review author.
With respect to moderation, the standard provides for both automated and manual moderation and provides checks for analyzing the review content.
As regards to publication, the standard includes considerations for the review administrator at the time of publication process and after the publication process.
The accuracy of the review, default display and weightage of ratings are defined in the publication process, the ministry said.
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