Consumers have become ever more reliant on online reviews. Therefore, fake reviews have also become increasingly rampant and eroded online review platforms’ credibility. Previous literature suggests that particular linguistic styles can manifest in fake reviews with reference to the varying stages of the language-production process. Drawing on the language-production model as our theoretical foundation, we examine the psycholinguistic styles of fake online reviews at the message and formulation level. We performed a computational linguistic analysis on 66,940 reviews from Yelp. Our results suggest that fake reviews align more with deceptive writing in terms of the message-level variables such as length and psychological (affective, cognitive, social, and perceptual) cues. Interestingly, we found that they align less with deceptive writing in terms of the formulation-level variables such as readability, pronouns, and part-of-speech tags, which may be due to the fake review writers’ conscious attempt to follow the language styles that genuine reviews adopt.
Kuan, K. K.
Understanding the Message and Formulation of Fake Online Reviews: A Language-production Model Perspective.
AIS Transactions on Human-Computer Interaction, 14(2), 207-229.
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