Google has recently updated its Product Ratings policies, effective August 28, 2023, specifically regarding artificial intelligence (AI) and automated content.
Props to Duane Forrester, who caught and shared this policy update on Twitter.
Automated And AI-Generated Reviews
The new addition makes it clear that reviews generated by automated programs or AI applications are not permitted and should be marked as spam.
Automated Content: We don’t allow reviews that are primarily generated by an automated program or artificial intelligence application. If you have identified such content, it should be marked as spam in your feed using the <is_spam> attribute.
Enforcement Of Updated Policies
To ensure compliance with the updated policies, Google utilizes a combination of automated and human evaluation methods.
Machine-learning algorithms will support this effort, while specially trained experts handle more complex cases that require additional context.
Actions taken against violations can include disapproval of violating content or reviews, issuing warnings, or even suspending accounts for repeated or severe offenses.
If any images are flagged for policy violation, the corresponding review content will also be blocked.
Additional Product Rating Guidelines
The existing Product Ratings policies are aimed at preserving the authenticity, legality, and ethicality of reviews on Google’s platform.
These policies emphasize Google’s strong stance against spam, urging users to flag irrelevant, repetitive, or nonsensical text as spam using the <is_spam> attribute.
Additionally, the policies prohibit reviewing dangerous products or acts, as well as reviews of potentially harmful or widely illegal regulated products.
To protect reviewers, the policy prohibits the sharing of personal and confidential information, such as phone numbers, email addresses, or URLs, within the review content.
Google’s policies also disallow the use of obscene, profane, offensive language, violent or defamatory content, and personal attacks to maintain a clean and respectful review environment.
The rules expressly state not to submit reviews that result from conflicts of interest or contain inauthentic remarks.
This includes reviews that have been paid for, employee-written, or composed by individuals with a vested interest in the product.
Moreover, the policies strictly prohibit illegal content, including unlawful links or those associated with malware, viruses, or harmful software.
In alignment with Google’s safety standards, sexually explicit content is also strictly prohibited in reviews, with immediate removal and, in cases involving minors, reporting to law enforcement and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
Furthermore, reviews that infringe on copyright, trademark, or involve plagiarism are considered policy violations.
Google’s policy strongly condemns hate speech, cross-promotion of unrelated products or websites, off-topic reviews, impersonation, and duplicate content.
Regarding language, reviews should be submitted in the original language, although Google provides translation options for users.
Google’s updated policies underscore the importance of genuine, human-created content that can be easily distinguished from automated AI-generated content.
This reaffirms the role of humans in review and rating systems, which limits the effectiveness of AI-generated reviews and may impact how certain businesses promote their products.
By prioritizing authenticity, Google ensures that the information and reviews displayed in their search results are reliable, building trust for online businesses and consumers alike.
Featured image: Alexander Limbach/Shutterstock
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