1. FTC Cracks Down on Fake Reviews
The US Federal Trade Commission has successfully brought its first case against fake online paid reviews. The charges are filed against Cure Encapsulations, a weight loss supplement maker, for paying a third-party business, amazonverifiedreviews.com, to write fake five-star Amazon reviews and boost its rating to 4.3 stars for its weight-loss supplement, garcinia cambogia. The supplement uses an Indonesian fruit that looks like a tiny green pumpkin that contributes to weight loss but also leads to liver failure. The Amazon reviews contain statements like: “Studies have shown that this TIME-TESTED fruit has a myriad of amazing properties” and “Literally BLOCKS FAT From Forming!” The FTC imposed a $12.8M fine on Cure Encapsulations as none of the claims are scientifically supported. 82% of users read online reviews before purchasing a product, even though 32% of reviews are fake. How has Amazon fought back? In 2015, they sued 1K fake review sellers as well as third-party sites. Amazon says they “welcome the FTC’s work in this area,” and that “even one inauthentic review is one too many.”
2. Netflix Changes “The Notebook” Ending
Every hopeless romantic knows and loves the 2014 romantic drama based on Nicholas Sparks’ book, “The Notebook.” Or they thought they knew. On Wednesday, Netflix UK released a version of the film with an alternate ending. Normally, the movie ends with a beautiful, heart-wrenching scene of the two lovers dying in each other’s arms but the alternate version cuts to a flock of birds flying over a lake. Viewers felt robbed of a good cry at the end. Netflix responded on Twitter:
Did Nicholas Sparks know? Apparently not. On NBC’s Today Show, he said, “I didn’t know it was coming.” He also prefers the original. Netflix restored the original version of the film Thursday. Get out your tissue boxes, Notebook lovers!
3. Elon Musk’s Twitter Sitter
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, is notorious for his stream of controversial tweets. After illegally disclosing Tesla’s financial information on Twitter, he reached a settlement with the SEC last fall and agreed to step down as chairman of Tesla and seek legal approval before tweeting anything that could affect their brand. Tesla has appointed an in-house lawyer to filter Musk’s tweets, someone who can be his “Twitter sitter.” The Twitter sitter has been falling down on the job recently but stepped in to help Musk modify a controversial tweet on Feb. 19. In the original tweet, Musk quoted a production number larger than what Tesla had told stakeholders.
Who is Musk’s Twitter sitter? Tesla is keeping this a secret, but this person’s job certainly isn’t easy. “It’s the most unique job in the world,” said Gene Munster, managing partner at the venture capital firm Loup Ventures.