New European laws banning businesses from misleading consumers will outlaw the practice business people who write (mostly glowing) reviews of their own products from next year.
The EU is hoping to put a stop to the practice of businesspeople writing themselves glowing reviews on consumer websites from Amazon to Trip Advisor. The directive will allow rival businesses to sue one another for posting bogus reviews of their own products and services, and existing organisations set up as consumer watchdogs will also have the power to do so. Moreso than relying on a new organisation, the EU hopes (probably with some intelligence) that rival businesses will keep one another in check.
This could prove interesting on the international stage, as there aren't many major companies in the US and other parts of the world which do not operate in the European Union. So, for example, Microsoft could potentially sue Apple, AMD could sue Nvidia and so forth, if they find examples of bogus reviews - and there have been hints of such practices from various major companies in the past.
Interestingly this could also extend as far as somewhere like Wikipedia, which can be used by consumers. Company employees have been known to edit and "maintain" their company profile on the site, and from next year this could be an illegal practice within the EU. Also, it's not known if the employees who perform the action have to be within the EU borders themselves, or whether or not this will apply to a company in general. That is, if (in theory) a Microsoft employee in the US were to post a bogus review of a Microsoft product onto a consumer site visited by Europeans, the company could be liable in the EU for the practice.
This will probably take a court case or two to establish such precedence, but essentially the EU could be banning this practice worldwide for most major companies.
The EU's ongoing efforts to make itself more relevant to Joe EUpean is having a major impact on the technology sector, from DRM to dodgy reviews.