FAKE REVIEWS: Somebody is buying thousands of 5-star-reviews for WhatsApp

FAKE REVIEWS: Somebody is buying thousands of 5-star-reviews for WhatsApp

Constantin, @newschannel

The Google Play Store ratings for WhatsApp during the last months were bad. Like, really bad, the average rating from Jan 22 to Mar 21 is 3.4, that's 1 point lower than WhatsApp's all time average.
Reasons for that are probably the much resented snapchatification of WhatsApp and serious security flaws.

WhatsApp global ratings, Jan 22 - Mar 21

If you read the WhatsApp reviews, it is conspicuous that dozens of the five-star-reviews are about great gameplay, awesome graphics etc.

What!? WhatsApp has great gameplay and awesome graphics???

WhatsApp reviews

Actually, not dozens, thousands!

WhatsApp global ratings which include the word "game", Jan 22 - Mar 21

These fake reviews are only in a few languages, if we search for english only WhatsApp reviews from the last month, 2.7% of all 5-star-reviews include the word "game".

Only english WhatsApp ratings, Feb 22 - Mar 21
Only english WhatsApp ratings which include the word "game", Feb 22 - Mar 21


There are also thousands of obviously fake 5-star-reviews that don't include the word "game", but include the words "play", "slots" and other game-related words.

Most likely there are also thousands of fake reviews that don't include these words but are more general like "good app" and are hard to distinguish from real reviews.

This girl might get paid to write WhatsApp reviews



It is hard to say how many of WhatsApp's 5-star-reviews are actually fake. It's probably way MORE THAN 10%.


What about other messaging apps?

It seems as if only WhatsApp is "affected" by thousands of fake five-star-reviews. We checked the reviews of Telegram, a messenger that actually includes games and has almost 23.000 global reviews between Jan 22 and Mar 21.

22 of these reviews include the word "game", every single one of them is about games on Telegram.

Global Telegram ratings which include the word "game", Jan 22 - Mar 21

Who would spend lots of money to improve WhatsApp's Play Store rating?

I leave it to you to answer this question. Fake Play Store reviews are pretty expensive (about $1 per review!), so it's very unlikely that somebody bought thousands (or more) fake reviews just for fun.
It's probably somebody with enough money to spend on WhatsApp.


Google recently anounced that they are improving on their fight against spam apps, identifying and removing fake ratings and reviews. The post suggests that with new enhanced capabilities, Google can remove such fake ratings and review with ‘greater accuracy’.


All the graphs from this article can be found on appannie.com


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