Artificial intelligence (AI) company Polygraf has launched a browser extension to detect fake and AI-created online reviews across e-commerce sites.

The tool identifies and highlights false or AI-generated reviews across online retail platforms such as Amazon, Walmart and Best Buy.

Reviews provide important product information for consumers and can affect buying habits and relationships with brands.

The World Economic Forum and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that the global fake reviews industry was worth a staggering $152bn in 2021 (of which $59bn was in the US). Approximately 12 cents on every dollar spent online go towards fake review-generated sales by means of inferior product and service purchases.

The FTC has proposed a rule to ban fake reviews that acknowledges the prevalence of AI-generated reviews. The independent agency also recently fined dietary supplements firm The Bountiful Company for manipulating reviews on Amazon product pages.

The UK Department for Business and Trade found that consumers are 5.3% less likely to purchase a product with poorly written (“strong”) fake reviews. Fake e-commerce reviews cause an estimated £50-312m in total annual harm to UK consumers.

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Manmeet Singh Bhasin, managing partner at an investor in Polygraf, has commented on the use of AI technology to combat the problem, stating: “With an exponentially vast amount of user-generated and AI-generated content flooding the internet, there is a critical need for accurate content labelling.”

Polygraf founder Yagub Rahimov added: “We are 10 seconds into a new century. AI-human co-existence is inevitable and trust will become the next inalienable human right. AI verification will be useful for government agencies, enterprises, media franchises, cyber security companies and public figures, amongst many others.”