Mozilla announced today that it has acquired Fakespot, a startup that offers a website and browser extension that helps users identify fake or unreliable reviews. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Fakespot’s offerings can be used to spot fake reviews listed on various online marketplaces including Amazon, Yelp, TripAdvisor and more.
Founded in 2016, New York-based Fakespot uses an AI and machine learning system to detect patterns and similarities between reviews in order to flag those that are most likely to be deceptive. Fakespot provides a rating or grade for the product’s reviews in order to help consumers make more informed decisions when making a purchase. The goal behind the company’s website and browser extension is to give users the ability to quickly see where deceptive reviews may be artificially inflating a product’s ranking in search engines.
“Fakespot will continue to work across all major web browsers and mobile devices, and the Mozilla team will be investing in continuing to enhance the Fakespot experience for its many, dedicated users,” said Mozilla Chief Product Officer Steve Teixeira in a blog post. “There will also be future Fakespot integrations that are unique to Firefox. The addition of Fakespot’s capabilities will make Firefox customers the best equipped to cut through deceptive reviews and shop with the confidence of knowing what they’re buying is high-quality and authentic.”
Mozilla says that with Fakespot, Firefox users will have access to a trustworthy shopping tool that will help improve the e-commerce experience. The company says it will introduce Fakespot functionality to Firefox over time.
Although AI and machine learning have long been used to detect fake reviews, the task is likely only to get more difficult with the introduction of enhanced and commercially available AI tools. For instance, recent reports indicate that people are using AI chatbots, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, to write reviews for products on Amazon. These reviews that are reportedly written by ChatGPT could be the next iteration of scam and fake reviews.
Today’s announcement comes a few weeks after Mozilla launched an AI-focused startup called Mozilla.ai. The newly forged company’s mission isn’t to build just any AI — its mission is to build AI that’s open source and “trustworthy,” according to Mark Surman, the executive president of Mozilla and the head of Mozilla.ai.