Keywords: Social Influence; eWOM; Suspicion; Consumer; Online Review.
Online reviews are widespread and can strongly affect consumer choice. However, the audience may know that these tools can be used and counterfeited for propaganda goals. We present an experiment 2 (falsity suspicion vs. control condition) x 2 (valence order: positive reviews first vs. negative reviews first) factorial design aimed at exploring what happens when people get suspicious about reviews' authenticity. As expected, results showed that suspicion hinders careful information processing. In addition, it affected restaurant evaluation by increasing the number of positive reviews hypothesized as fake, which in turn reduced positive reviews perceived as useful, dragging the judgement toward the negative pole (partial mediation). The implications are discussed.