Bell Canada Faces $1.25 Million Fine over Fake Online App Reviews

by Istvan Fekete on October 15, 2015

Almost a year after Bell’s unlawful move to improve the ranking of its MyBell Mobile and Virgin My Account iOS and Android apps made headlines, the carrier and the Competition Bureau has reached an agreement.

Last November, certain Bell employees were encouraged to post positive reviews and ratings of the aforementioned mobile apps on the App Store and Google Play without disclosing that they worked for Bell. The company said the action was the result of “an overzealous effort on the part of our service team to highlight the app.”

After the fake postings were brought to the attention of the Competition Bureau, Bell quickly reacted by having the reviews and ratings removed. But it wasn’t fast enough. After the Bureau looked into the matter, it determined that these reviews and ratings had created a general impression that they were made by independent and impartial consumers, and that they had temporarily affected the overall star rating of the apps.

As a result, Bell faces a hefty penalty of $1.25 million.

It is worth mentioning that Bell provided full, timely, and ongoing co-operation with the Bureau’s inquiry.

On top of the $1.25 million bill, Bell agreed to sponsor and host a workshop to promote, discuss, and enhance Canadians’ trust in the digital economy, including the integrity of online reviews.

I would add that this comes way too late. Online reviews are nice, but you don’t know who’s behind them. So, if you are inclined to trust reviews, think again!

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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