The FTC has proposed a new rule banning numerous forms of fake reviews online, from outright fabricated ones to those that are sketchily repurposed or secretly manipulated. It may not totally rehabilitate the notoriously unreliable online review ecosystem, but it could help make things a bit more bearable. From a report: This rule has been a long time in the making, which is par for the course at any federal regulator. The FTC’s first case of this type was in 2019, against a merchant that was making misleading claims and paying for fake reviews. Before that, it had taken on “influencer marketing” where a person didn’t disclose that they were being paid to promote a product. Now the agency is ready to take comprehensive action with rules they first previewed last October and have now put in near-final form. The proposed rule is the result of much research and of consultation with businesses, consumers, and even advertising trade organizations that predictably advised the FTC not to bother cracking down on this lucrative business.