Fake patient reviews are flooding Google, Yelp and other review websites

There is "a robust industry of global review fraud" according to this Washington Post article:


“Physicians with their own personal private practices tend to have more suspicious reviews versus physicians who might be an employee of a large medical center or a hospital.”

Over 70% of patients use online reviews as the first step to finding a new doctor as of 2020.  "The reason that physicians are paying for these fake reviews is that they know the importance of how it will drive patients to their office,” said Niam Yaraghi, an assistant professor of business technology at Miami Herbert School of Business at the University of Miami.

If a patient writes a negative review, a doctor can’t give a full-throated defense because of HIPAA privacy regulations. “You’re not supposed to be sharing patient’s confidential health information,” Dr. Jackson said. “In a lot of cases, we don’t even want to acknowledge that you’re a patient.”

Platforms face no penalties when they do miss fraud. Under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, Google, Yelp and Trustpilot and other platforms are insulated from legal liability for fraudulent content posted by third parties on their sites.

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