What just happened? Fakespot provides customers with a way to filter online store reviews to determine whether a review is written by a human or just an unreliable piece of generated text designed to promote a fake, low-quality product. The platform will now become part of Mozilla Firefox, although it will continue to work with other browsers and web platforms as well.
Fakespot founder Saud Khalifa has announced that the company has just been acquired by Mozilla and will soon become part of the browser (Firefox) that boasts a lineage dating back to the origins of the Internet. As a partner, Khalifa said, Mozilla shares a similar mission of “what the future of the Internet should be,” bringing trust, privacy and security together to become a core part of people’s digital experience.
The Fakespot service is designed to use artificial intelligence to detect fake reviews and potential fraud with support from Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Bestbuy and many other e-retailers used by millions of customers worldwide. The company provides browser extensions for Firefox and Chrome, on both desktop and mobile operating systems, that will then analyze product reviews for common fake patterns.
Product reviews and star-based ratings can help customers quickly distinguish a high-quality, reliable product from a “cheap, unreliable alternative or unreliable seller,” Mozilla said. At worst, however, user reviews are actually scams designed to “artificially inflate reviews for an inferior product.”
Fakespot offers a potential answer to the fake review problem, Mozilla says, by combating review farms that undermine “the credibility of review systems,” harming customers and “ethical sellers.” Fakespot doesn’t work with “its own army of reviewers reviewing reviews,” Mozilla adds, because the service uses specially trained AI and machine learning algorithms to detect similarities between reviews to spot the most likely scammers.
Mozilla said Fakespot should be a “natural fit” as the Firefox Foundation works to advance an ethical approach to AI development, empowering people and not enslaving them to a generative algorithm. Mozilla plans to increase investment in Fakespot with exclusive features that will be rolled out to Firefox “over time.”
The Fakespot service will continue to work in all major browsers, providing an enhanced experience for its users, Mozilla assured, although Firefox will have “unique” Fakespot integrations. In 2017, Mozilla acquired the article hosting service Pocket, integrating the tool more tightly into its browser.