New software to challenge fake hotel reviews

The computer science department of Cornell University revealed on Tuesday that it is developing software to detect false hotel reviews posted online.

The posting of false or spam reviews on websites such as TripAdvisor has become a controversial issue in the industry because despite safeguards against it some hotels could be benefitting with better website placement due to the posting of false reviews. TripAdvisor, a subsidiary of Expedia Inc., has a “zero tolerance” for hoteliers and reviewers breaking policy and penalizes transgressors.

While TripAdvisor already has such software, the Cornell developers say their software would serve as an additional bulwark given that tests have shown its accuracy to be 90% in a study of online reviews of 20 Chicago hotels.

The software is still in too early of a stage to consider whether it will be released commercially. If it were, the target user would be website administrators of websites with hotel reviews.

“A lot more would need to be done to be confident in the software, but it is definitely a promising direction,” said Claire Cardie, a computer science professor at Cornell involved in the research.

For more information from Cornell about the software, click here.