Rotten Tomatoes changes audience reviews in order to stop trolls

Clarisse Loughrey

Rotten Tomatoes is changing its audience reviews in order to combat trolls.

The review aggregator site, which also allows its users to rate and comment on films to create an audience score, has seen an emerging pattern of users who deliberately target films with what the site calls ”non-constructive input, sometimes bordering on trolling”, with Captain Marvel and Black Panther amongst the films affected.

Having already changed its policy so that users can only post reviews after a film’s release, Rotten Tomatoes has now introduced a separate audience score for users who can prove they’ve purchased a ticket to the film they’re reviewing.

Users who purchased their ticket through Fandango, the parent company of Rotten Tomatoes, will have the ability to receive a “verified” badge when they review the film directly through the Fandango app. Their review will then automatically be posted on Rotten Tomatoes itself.

Although all users will still be able to rate and review films, the new verified audience score will be the default display on the film’s page, while all the ratings together will be accessible under a different tab.

The new rating will be applied on theatrical releases moving forward, but will not be retroactively applied.

US cinema chains AMC Theatres, Regal Cinemas, and Cinemark Theatres also have plans to participate in the scheme at some point this year, although this is still in development.

“We think this was the next place to add more credibility to our scores,” Fandango chief marketing officer Lori Pantel told The Hollywood Reporter. “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.”