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Content Integrity Policy

Our Approach to Content Integrity

At TripAdvisor, we've created a community where members can read one another's travel reviews and plan and book their perfect trips. Once in a while, someone will try to game our system by posting a fake review, so we thought it would be helpful to share our approach, our policies, and the actions we take to identify, block, and remove fraudulent reviews. Here's what we believe.

We believe the best travel advice comes from other travellers.

At TripAdvisor, our members can submit reviews of their experiences at hotels, restaurants, and attractions. Over the past 15 years, we have received more than 200 million reviews and opinions from our members, covering virtually every country in the world.

We believe in "the right to write."

The TripAdvisor community has a wealth of valuable experience, and every one of our 315 million monthly users should feel confident sharing their opinions. When you stay in a hotel or eat in a restaurant, you have a fundamental right to talk about that experience with others. We are immensely proud of the community we’ve built which helps customers do just that.

We believe every experience counts, not just the ones where you paid the bill. If you have a party of 12 at a restaurant, we believe that all of them should have a voice. That's what TripAdvisor stands for.

Because we believe in promoting personal experiences, we do not take lightly the decision to remove a review from our site. It might be easier to give-in to censorship and remove reviews that a business owner disagrees with. But it goes against what we stand for, which is the right for genuine consumers to share their experiences.

In keeping with this philosophy, our policy regarding review submission is self-directed. While we do require reviewers to certify that they are reviewing their own experiences before they can submit their review to TripAdvisor, we don’t seek third-party verification.

We believe that everyone should play by the same rules. Businesses are not able to influence TripAdvisor to improve their reviews, ratings or ranking.

We have unique processes for moderating the content submitted to TripAdvisor, as well as proprietary algorithms that calculate a business's daily rank with our Popularity Index. Those processes and algorithms are applied in the same way to all content, complaints and properties. We never have and never will give our advertisers or anyone else preferential treatment. From large chain hotels to small walking tours, every review of every business receives the same level of scrutiny.

We believe that businesses who don't play by the rules should be penalized.

Businesses know that consumers rely heavily on reviews when making travel decisions. Unfortunately, we have seen over our 15 years that some unscrupulous businesses will try to cheat in order to attract more customers. We define “cheating” as positively reviewing their own business (or finding others to do so on their behalf) or negatively reviewing their competitors.

These activities constitute fraud. Posting fake reviews violates the TripAdvisor Terms of Use, as well as unfair competition and/or consumer protection laws in many countries. We invest massive amounts of time, effort, and money into identifying and blocking fraudulent activity on our site. Despite this, with over 80 new contributions a minute, 24 hours a day, we're aware that a handful of fake reviews can slip onto the site for a period of time.

How TripAdvisor identifies and blocks fraud

  • We have more than 15 years of experience learning what normal reviews and reviewing behavior tend to look like on our platform. We're experts at spotting patterns of fraudulent activity.
  • We capture and record thousands of data points per hour and insert them into our proprietary fraud detection processes.
  • We run reviews through automatic filters to identify moderation or integrity issues prior to publication. This process allows TripAdvisor to analyze and categorize massive amounts of data quickly and thoroughly.
  • We have a staff of more than 300 people in seven countries working to manage content and to identify, block, and remove fraud.
  • Once reviews are published, we allow business owners and community members to flag content for our review if they believe it is fraudulent. All reports from our community and owners are reviewed and analyzed by the Content Team.
  • We proactively engage with companies trying to hire people to write reviews as well as property owners attempting to buy fake reviews in order to expose those that try to circumvent our systems.

How TripAdvisor penalizes businesses found to engage in fraudulent activity

  • We block or remove the fake reviews.
  • Each fraudulent submission we identify has a negative impact on a business’s rank in our Popularity Index algorithm.
  • We disqualify properties engaging in fraud from any special recognition, such as Travellers' Choice Awards and the Certificate of Excellence.
  • We aggressively pursue companies that offer to boost a business's reputation by writing fake reviews on its behalf. When we catch them, we expose all of the fake reviews they've posted, and we penalize their clients.

You may be surprised that TripAdvisor doesn’t simply remove the listing on our site for a business caught engaging in review fraud. In fact, that's exactly what some of these businesses want us to do, so they can prevent consumers from researching and commenting on them. But we believe consumers have the right to know what other TripAdvisor users are saying.

Finally, we believe it's important for our community to be informed.

With over 200 million reviews and opinions on TripAdvisor, and over 315 million travellers using our site each month, we're confident that we're taking the right steps to keep our content fresh and useful.

For more information…

Read our FAQ on Review Moderation and Fraud Detection, or visit the TripAdvisor Help Centre.