In today’s digital world, online reviews on social media sites like Facebook can be pivotal for your business. Fake and negative reviews can do catastrophic damage to your online reputation—which is why it is critical to know how to remove a bad review on Facebook.
To hide or remove a bad Facebook review from your business page, you can:
- Report the review if it violates Facebook’s community standards,
- Report the reviewer as a fake account, or
- Turn reviews off completely by navigating to your page’s settings, clicking Templates and Tabs, and toggling Reviews to “off.”
At Minc Law, we frequently help our clients deal with negative online reviews and publicity. We have extensive experience eliminating and removing damaging online reviews as quickly and efficiently as possible, without drawing unwanted attention or worsening the situation.
In this article, we discuss how to report a fake Facebook review, what circumstances constitute a violation of Facebook’s community standards, how to respond to bad reviews, and how to disable reviews from your Facebook account entirely if necessary.
How to Report Fake Facebook Reviews
As one of the most popular social media channels in the world, Facebook is extremely susceptible to social media defamation, including fake reviews. Disgruntled customers, competitors, or even bored social media users may find it all too easy to create an anonymous account and assault your brand with fake and misleading reviews.
Video: What to Do If You Are the Target of Social Media Defamation
Thankfully, as a business owner, you have recourse. Below, we explain how to recognize, report, and remove bad reviews below.
How Much Damage Can a Fake Facebook Review Do to Your Reputation?
As a business in the digital age, your online reputation cannot be understated. And reviews of your business are quickly becoming one of the most influential pieces of word-of-mouth marketing that potential customers check to decide whether to do business with you.
In fact, 90% of customers who researched a business online cited positive reviews as a factor in their eventual decision to buy the product.
But just as positive reviews can influence customers to purchase, negative reviews (even fake ones) can have a devastating effect on your business. According to one 2018 Reviewtrackers study, 94% of respondents stated that an online review has convinced them to avoid a business.
Since most internet users will not be able to spot a false review, a fake negative review of your business has the potential to do lasting damage to your business and bottom line.
How Do You Report a Fake Facebook Review?
Generally, there are three ways to report reviews:
- Report the review as a member of the general public;
- Report the review through your Facebook business page; or
- Report the reviewer as a fake account.
Regardless of the reporting option you choose for a fake review, be aware that Facebook generally does not remove reviews unless they contain words or a comment. So if a reviewer simply left a one-star review or rating without comment, you need to comment on it yourself before reporting that review. Otherwise, your report will be ignored.
Option 1: Report Facebook Reviews as a Member of the General Public
On every review, there are three dots in the top right corner. Click those dots to get started. Press the last option, titled either “find support” or “report recommendation.”
You can then send a report based on your recommendation.
If you reported the review for a community standards violation, Facebook’s administrators will first confirm that to be the case. If they agree with your assessment, they will remove the post.
Option 2: Report Facebook Reviews Through Your Facebook Business Page
The second way to report a Facebook review is to report it as a business owner through your business page portal.
This reporting process is the same as Option 1 above, except that you are reporting it as the business owner. Simply click the three dots in the top right corner of the review, select “find support” or ”report recommendation,” and select the reason for reporting the post.
Option 3: Report the Reviewer as a Fake Account
Finally, when individuals post fake reviews, they sometimes create false accounts to do so. Facebook’s community standards do not allow fake accounts, so reporting the account is another way to have the review removed.
If you have reason to believe the reviewer is using a fake account, you can report the user’s account as false.
To report a fake Facebook account, simply:
- Navigate to the profile of the fake account,
- Click under the cover photo and select “Find support or report profile,” and
- Follow the on-screen instructions for fake accounts to file a report.
Reporting a fake Facebook account is an effective way to not only combat internet defamation but Facebook sextortion as well.
When Will Facebook Remove Fake Reviews?
Facebook will remove fake reviews when the review team confirms that the review is completely unfair, or if it contains one of the following types of content that constitutes a violation of Facebook’s community standards.
Violence & Criminal Behavior
Facebook removes language that incites or facilitates serious violence. Posts that fall under this category include statements with a credible threat to the public or personal safety or those that coordinate harm or publicize a crime.
Groups or individuals that are involved in terrorist activity, organized crime, murder, or human trafficking are also banned from having a Facebook presence.
While Facebook does allow users to share experiences and raise awareness of issues such as self-harm or suicide, the platform does not allow posts in celebration or promotion of these ideas. Posts about exploitation (sexual or otherwise) and bullying or harassment are also expressly prohibited.
Facebook also removes content that reveals personally identifiable information and financial, residential, or medical information that could lead to physical or financial harm.
Facebook agrees to remove content that would be considered objectionable and disturbing to a reasonable audience. Content Facebook defines as objectionable includes hate speech, violent and graphic content, adult nudity and sexual activity, and sexual solicitation.
Integrity & Authenticity
Misleading and inauthentic behavior is also discouraged by Facebook. Users are required to create accounts in their own name, not a pseudonym or fake identity. Spamming, cyberattacks, spreading fake news and manipulated media, and misrepresentations of identity are also banned.
Respecting Intellectual Property
While posters own the content they post on Facebook, that content can be removed if it violates another person’s intellectual property rights (ex. copyright infringement). Posting content that violates copyrights, trademarks, and other legal rights are prohibited in Facebook’s Terms of Service.
Content-Related Requests & Decisions
Finally, Facebook removes accounts if the user requests the removal of their own account, or if a deceased user’s immediate family member or executor requests the account’s removal. Incapacitated users’ accounts can also be removed at the request of an authorized representative.
Additionally, Facebook will comply with requests for removal of an underage account, government requests for removal of child abuse imagery, or legal guardian requests for removal of attacks on unintentionally famous minors.
How Can You Tell if a Review on Facebook is Fake?
Reporting a fake review or fake profile is only useful if you have a way to tell if the review is false in the first place. For this purpose, it is helpful to keep detailed business records so that you can consult your customer database or transaction records when a negative customer review does appear on your Facebook page.
Does that negative review come from an account username that matches or closely resembles an existing customer? Do you have a customer complaint “on file” that seems to match the events recounted in the review? If so, perhaps a reply with deft customer service skills can resolve the issue.
If the review does not appear to align with any of your business records, it may indeed be fake. In that case, check the user’s profile. Look for the following red flags indicating a fake online review:
- Was the account created on the same day as—and apparently for the sole purpose of—the review itself?
- Is the account username a play on words, such as “Seymore Butts”?
- When a reverse image search is conducted of the user’s profile picture, was it clearly copied from somewhere else?
- Is the language of the review riddled with grammatical errors or inaccurate descriptions of the service or product your business provides?
How to Remove a Bad Review on Facebook
While some negative Facebook reviews are made by anonymous posters with fake accounts, not all bad reviews are necessarily fake ones.
As a local business owner, it is important to understand your options when presented with a negative and potentially harmful review that you cannot prove is false.
When Can You Not Remove a Bad Review on Facebook?
Generally, Facebook will not remove a negative review unless it is a flagrant and/or obvious violation of Facebook’s community standards.
In all other cases, Facebook will most likely not take down the review. The review will remain connected to your page unless you take action through one of the steps below, or the author removes the review themselves.
How Do You Remove a One-Star Rating on Facebook?
There are usually only three ways to deal with a one-star review on Facebook:
- Convince the original poster to remove it, either voluntarily through customer service response, or involuntarily through litigation;
- Report the post to Facebook and ask them to remove it for a violation of the community standards; or
- Encourage actual customers and clients to post positive reviews, which will improve your rating.
Even if a negative review has not been posted, we recommend that all businesses proactively obtain as many positive reviews as is ethical and practical for online reputation management purposes. After all, the more positive reviews your business has, the less of an impact a negative review will make on your online reputation.
Online Reputation Management Fact: Online reputation management (ORM) is a set of strategies and tools that enables individuals and businesses to take direct control over the search results that appear when someone Googles their name. ORM may be the right choice for you if negative online content about you is newsworthy, related to a serious crime, or viral.
How to Remove a Bad Rating on Facebook Marketplace
Many Facebook users sell items on Facebook Marketplace, a common space run by Facebook where users can buy and sell items from each other. Facebook Marketplace is not the same as individual business pages, but negative product reviews can still plague sellers on that part of the platform.
You can report a review on Facebook Marketplace by clicking on the three dots in the upper right corner of the review. Click “Report Review” and follow the on-screen prompts to report the reasons for the reviewer’s violation of the Facebook community standards.
Who Do You Contact at Facebook to Remove a Bad Review?
Unfortunately, there is no one to contact to report a negative review about your business.
As noted above, all reports must start by clicking on the three dots at the top right of the review and filing a report. Facebook’s administrators will review the report and decide whether to remove the bad Facebook review if it does violate their community standards.
Responding to Bad Facebook Reviews
When your business is faced with a negative review online, it can be tempting to fire back with a heated response. But often, responding to a review can do more harm than good.
Below, we provide information on how to respond appropriately, when you should refrain from responding at all, and other ways to deal with a negative review.
How Can You Respond Appropriately to Negative Facebook Reviews?
When your business receives a negative review, it is sometimes advisable to respond with a courteous comment. After all, many reviews are based on unrealistic expectations or inaccurate assumptions about your business that can be resolved with quality customer service.
While we do not always recommend responding to a bad Facebook review (see below), keep the following tips in mind when you do respond:
- Be non-confrontational. Resist the urge to be defensive; instead, acknowledge the customer’s concerns.
- Be sympathetic. Even if the complaint is unfounded, show compassion for the person who is upset. If applicable, assure them that the issue is being addressed and/or resolved.
- Be timely. Most users expect a brand to respond within a few hours, so try to send an appropriate response as soon as possible.
- Keep it concise. Stay short and sweet—and try to move the conversation offline as soon as possible. Invite the commenter to email your customer service department or send you a private message to continue the exchange.
The key to appropriate review response is to demonstrate the right balance of compassionate, courteous, and informational.
When Should You Not Respond to Negative Facebook Reviews?
In many situations, however, it is not advisable to respond to a negative review. If your local business is not in an industry that relies on a high volume of reviews (such as food, retail, travel, etc.), it may not be worth your while to respond.
In some circumstances, a bad response will only worsen the situation. Sometimes, interacting with a negative review will only draw more attention to it, since many platforms display reviews that have more comments and responses first.
And responding to a negative review also decreases the chances that Facebook will remove it for a violation of its community standards later. When platforms like Facebook evaluate a removal request and see responses, they tend to assume that the business has already dealt with the issue and no further action is needed.
How Do You Deal With Negative Comments on Facebook?
Some negative reviews on Facebook come from genuinely dissatisfied customers. However, other posters are unreasonably malicious. In those cases, it is most often the best course to spend your energy trying to block, report, and hide that review from the public eye.
Block the Poster
If you know the poster is not acting in good faith, the simplest course is to block them. To block a user, simply click the three dots next to their profile and select “block.” If a user is blocked by you, they cannot see you or your posts, and you cannot see them.
Depending on the issue at hand, you can instead choose to “Hide ALL,” which will prevent you from seeing the user’s posts without blocking them. In that case, the user can still see you, but you will not see them.
Report the Poster
You can also report the malicious user by selecting the three dots next to their profile and clicking on “Find support or report profile.”
Then, select a reason for reporting the user.
Depending on the feedback you give, you may also be asked to submit a separate report to Facebook.
Hide the Comment From the Post
If the content in question is a comment on your own post, you have the option to hide the comment from continuing to appear.
The user will not know the comment was hidden, but other Facebook users will no longer be able to see it.
Can you Delete Comments on a Facebook Business Page?
As a business owner, you also have the option to delete the comment. Of course, unlike hiding the comment, choosing to delete it means that the commenter will know it has been removed.
Facebook also contains settings that allow business owners to filter and moderate comments. Turning on these settings allow you to:
- Moderate and approve all comments,
- Select age restrictions for posters,
- Determine posters’ tagging ability,
- Set a profanity filter, and
- Select certain words to be blocked from the page.
To alter these settings, go to your business page and click “Settings” in the left column.
Then, adjust the various page settings to match your preferences.
Can You Block Someone From Leaving a Review on Facebook?
By following the steps listed above, you can block specific users from being able to interact with your business Facebook page in the future—including leaving a review. Simply click the three dots next to their profile and select “block.”
Minc Law Defamation Tip: Many business owners are tempted to call a negative review defamatory. However, there is a difference between a bad review and defamation. A negative review that was written by an actual customer describing their real, negative experience with your business is legal and not defamatory. A bad review becomes defamation if the reviewer lies about being a customer or lies about their experience. For more information about when you can sue for a negative review, see our article: Can You Sue for a Bad Review?
How to Turn Off & Delete Facebook Reviews
Unfortunately, Facebook reviews cannot be hidden or blocked the same way comments can. To take action without waiting for Facebook’s administrators, your simplest option is to turn off your page’s reviews altogether.
Where Can You Turn Off Facebook Reviews in Your Settings?
Some business owners prefer to avoid dealing with Facebook reviews at all. To turn recommendations on or off for your business page, navigate to your page and click ‘Settings’ in the left-hand menu.
Click “Templates and Tabs.’
On this page, you have the option to toggle the ‘Reviews’ tap on or off. When this option is turned off, visitors to your page will not be able to leave a review.
Why Might You Choose to Turn Off Your Facebook Reviews?
While opting to avoid allowing reviews on your business page is not right for everyone, there are a few situations in which it makes more sense to disable reviews than to deal with the potential for negative publicity.
You may decide to turn off your Facebook review if:
- You are not very active on Facebook and do not want to monitor and respond to reviews posted on that platform;
- You have so many negative reviews that it would be too much work to have them removed; or
- You have been bombarded with negative fake reviews (or one or two that are particularly harmful and problematic).
Why Do Reviews Sometimes Disappear From Facebook?
Occasionally, a review will disappear seemingly on its own accord. This disappearance may happen because the person who wrote the review removed it themselves, or the author of the review deleted their account.
In other cases, Facebook’s algorithm may have removed the review for a violation of the platform’s community standards.
We Can Help Remove Fake Facebook Reviews
Whether fake, malicious, or misleading, a negative review on Facebook can have long-lasting effects on your business and online reputation if left unchecked. It can be frustrating and time-consuming to try to remove that review on your own, however.
If you are struggling to respond to an onslaught of fake reviews or find yourself stymied by the roadblocks in Facebook’s reporting process, we can help. At Minc Law, we pride ourselves on transparent, cost-effective, and permanent consumer review removals.
“This is a very special law firm with a truly noble mission. It emerged because people, businesses, and organizations are being viciously hurt on the internet. It’s the only firm of its kind and they are very effective.”
Shahin Ruyani, July 19, 2021
To learn more about your options for dealing with fake or negative Facebook reviews, contact us for a free consultation by calling (216) 373-7706, speaking with a Chat Representative, or filling out our online contact form.