Firefox tests a built-in checker for fake reviews

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Mozilla is testing a new built-in “Review Checker” feature for its Firefox browser that rates how reliable a product’s customer reviews are. The experimental feature was initially spotted by MSPowerUser, and Firefox’s senior director of product management Byron Jourdan confirmed that the company is testing the functionality “with a limited audience in the United States,” in a statement given to The Verge.

Firefox’s Review Checker is now preparing to give users the tools to weed out unreliable reviews. Screenshots posted by MSPowerUser show how the tool is accessible via a price tag icon in the browser’s URL bar, which brings up a sidebar with details on the current open product page. The tool assigns the product’s reviews a grade based on how reliable it believes them to be, offers an “adjusted rating” out of five stars with “unreliable reviews removed,” and pulls out some highlights of the existing reviews.

The Review Checker feature is powered by technology from Fakespot, a company Mozilla acquired earlier this year. The company “uses a sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) system to detect patterns and similarities between reviews in order to flag those that are most likely to be deceptive,” Mozilla said when it announced the acquisition, noting that it planned to integrate the technology into its browser to “make Firefox customers the best equipped to cut through deceptive reviews.”

Fakespot already offers its review checking services via its website, extensions for browsers like Chrome and Safari, and iOS and Android apps. When it announced the acquisition, Mozilla said Fakespot would continue to work “across all major web browsers and mobile devices.” But being offered as a built-in Firefox feature could be a huge promotional boon for Fakespot, and bring it to the attention of many more users.

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Although it’s currently testing the feature, Mozilla’s Jourdan says the company is yet to announce an official release date for the feature. “We will continue to test and see if this is one of the ways where we can help improve people’s online experience,” he said in a statement.

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