The Deceptive Practice of Faking the System: The Case of Rome B&Bs Reviews

23 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2018

See all articles by Raffaella Barone

Raffaella Barone

University of Salento - Department of Law

Domenico Delle Side

University of Salento

Anna Vergori

University of Salento

Date Written: September 24, 2018

Abstract

We present an innovative technique based on unsupervised machine learning, to show the presence of potentially fake items in a corpus of user generated reviews. We focused on the case of Rome’s B&Bs reviews (taken from an important field portal), drawing attention to the impact this have on the corresponding structures rankings. After an initial exploration of the dataset, we analyzed a consistent number of reviews (more than 237.000). Such analysis shows that more than 50.000 reviews are written by users with a common username pattern and share some really clustered stylistic and lexical features. We consider these reviews as fake. If the policy maker would decide to introduce measures to regulate the sector of online reviews, removing all fakes, 44 B&Bs would completely disappear from the portal rankings.

Keywords: machine learning, spam detection techniques, electronic word of mouth, regulatory systems, consumer protection.

JEL Classification: D8, D18, D83, G18, L83

Suggested Citation

Barone, Raffaella and Delle Side, Domenico and Vergori, Anna, The Deceptive Practice of Faking the System: The Case of Rome B&Bs Reviews (September 24, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3254286 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3254286

Raffaella Barone (Contact Author)

University of Salento - Department of Law ( email )

Campus Universitario - Via Li Tufi
LECCE, LE 73020
Italy

Domenico Delle Side

University of Salento ( email )

via Taranto 35
Piazza Tancredi, N.7
Lecce, Lecce 73100
Italy

Anna Vergori

University of Salento ( email )

via Taranto 35
Piazza Tancredi, N.7
Lecce, Lecce 73100
Italy

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