Rotten Tomatoes has gone a step further in battling online trolls by adding verified user audience scores to its site. Rotten Tomatoes, which is a review aggregator site, has been attempting to battle users who take advantage of the site's system to review-bomb movies, including some films, such as Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker, that haven't even premiered yet.
Before its release, female-led superhero movie Captain Marvel was bombarded with negative reviews. Online trolls slammed the film's page with hateful comments about both the film and its star, Brie Larson, who has been vocal about feminism and diversity in Hollywood. Rotten Tomatoes responded to the review bombing by removing the "Want To See" option and percentage for each film until its release date, admitting that it believed this percentage was often confused with the actual Audience Score percentage. The site also removed comments from each movie's page until its release date.
This doesn't stop users from leaving reviews for movies after their release date, though. And until recently, a lot of negative reviews on some films were obviously from users who had not seen the movie. According to THR, Rotten Tomatoes will attempt to discourage this practice by allowing moviegoers who have purchased a ticket to a film to have their reviews verified on the site. These reviews, which will have a verified checkmark next to them, will also get priority on each movie's page, allowing site users to know which reviews are by people who have seen the film. Fandango chief marketing officer Lori Pantel said:
"We think this was the next place to add more credibility to our scores. One of the added values of verified is that it could dissuade what we call 'bad actors' from commenting on a film that they may not have even seen."
At first, only moviegoers who purchase tickets through Fandango will have access to this feature, which will allow them to write their Rotten Tomatoes review within the app. In time, Rotten Tomatoes will extend the program to those who use apps by AMC Theaters, Regal and Cinemark Theaters. Eventually, Rotten Tomatoes hopes to use online barcode scanning and ticket confirmation numbers to allow other moviegoers to participate.
Rotten Tomatoes understands that the nature of online trolling and harassment requires a new kind of thinking with how it works with audience reviews. The site has also made some strides in making its critic reviews more diverse: Rotten Tomatoes recently announced that it was adding new critics with more diverse viewpoints to its website in hopes to boost voices from underrepresented groups of moviegoers.
Many moviegoers would argue, though, that there is still a huge disconnect between moviegoers and critics, but Rotten Tomatoes is doing what it can to lessen that gap. Discouraging online trolls is just another step in keeping Rotten Tomatoes relevant to today's audiences.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter