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Rotten Tomatoes introduces ‘verified’ ratings as a way to fight trolls

Published May 23rd, 2019 4:27PM EDT
Rotten Tomatoes Ratings
Image: Rotten Tomatoes

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Rotten Tomatoes

has announced a change to its audience score system as part of a multi-step plan to fight trolls which has been underway for a while now.

If you’ll recall, there’s been an uptick in trolls rushing to the site to “review-bomb” movies like March’s Captain Marvel, which was hit with a barrage of negative Rotten Tomatoes reviews from users before it had even be released. At one point on the Friday morning of its release weekend, the movie already had earned an abysmal 33% Rotten Tomatoes audience score thanks to trolls who’d left more than 58,000 reviews.

To fight targeted attacks that have been directed at movies like Captain Marvel, Star Wars: The Last Jedi and others, Rotten Tomatoes had already tweaked its system so that users couldn’t overwhelm a movie before it was even out (meaning, before they’d even seen it). On Thursday, meanwhile, the site also announced the introduction of “verified” ratings and reviews to its audience score system, which incorporates feedback from reviewers who can confirm they actually bought tickets to the movie they’re reviewing.

Image source: Disney

In a blog post announcing the changes, the site says it’s tagging written reviews from users we can confirm they purchased tickets to a movie as “verified” reviews. This image gives you a sense of how such reviews will be marked and highlighted:

Image source: Rotten Tomatoes

“At launch, users can verify ticket purchases through Fandango, AMC Theaters, Regal Cinemas, and Cinemark (which) have signed up to participate in our verification program,” the blog post explains. “Users who want to verify their ratings and reviews simply choose where they bought their ticket when leaving their rating and/or review.” If Rotten Tomatoes can verify that a ticket was indeed purchased, the rating and/or review will be marked as verified.

As part of this effort, the review site is working to bring other ticket providers into its verification system as soon as it can. It’s also working on a way to verify ratings and reviews for movies that don’t get a theatrical release, as well as for TV series and streaming titles.

“We believe an Audience Score made up of these Verified Ratings is the most trustworthy measure of user sentiment we can offer right now — one that gives entertainment fans a genuine audience assessment of a movie they’re considering watching, and one which puts significant roadblocks in front of bad actors who would seek to manipulate the Audience Score,” the site explained today about the changes.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.