Rotten Tomatoes Could Further Tighten Audience Review Guidelines Against Trolls

Following the deluge of negative posts on the Captain Marvel Rotten Tomatoes user page, Rotten Tomatoes took serious measures to secure its website against malicious trolls looking to skew a movie's audience rating. But that may have just been the beginning of Rotten Tomatoes' countermeasures against potential user sabotage.

The review aggregator website is considering further changes to the Rotten Tomatoes audience review guidelines in order to combat trolls that have been targeting films like Captain Marvel, Black Panther, Ghostbusters, and even Star Wars: Episode 9.

The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that "additional measures are being considered" for the guidelines to audience reviews. These changes could amount to a user being asked to verify if they have seen the film in question before posting a critique — a major issue with trolls that had been posting negative audience reviews before the targeted films had even hit theaters.

For now, it's unclear how this feature would work. However, it's possible that Rotten Tomatoes may partner with its parent company Fandango, a ticketing company, in order to verify users through some kind of two-step process. Audiences who buy a ticket for a movie through Fandango would be able to post on Rotten Tomatoes, for example. This feature, if implemented correctly, could possibly stymie the "review bomb" attacks against movies while allowing authentic negative reviews to be posted. Dana Benson, the vice president communications for Fandango, told THR that this measure is being considered for that very reason.

'"We are disappointed that there was a group of people who were obviously very passionate and who had a negative opinion of the movie, whether they saw it or not," Benson said.

It seems that Rotten Tomatoes' recent revamp preventing users from posting about a film until the day of its release is working to an extent. Currently, the Captain Marvel audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes has plateaued at 62% with 64,000 reviews, much higher than the initial 32% it received from around 58,000 users on the day of its release. This is after Rotten Tomatoes purged about 50,000 reviews that it found to be troll posts. However, its number of user ratings still vastly exceeds that of Avengers: Infinity War (just over 53,000), the highest-grossing movie of the last three years and one that hit theaters almost 11 months ago.

While Rotten Tomatoes still has some way to go in weeding out the troll posts, it's good that some progress is being made. The divide between the audience score and critics still exists, but that's something that Benson wants to become a source of discussion, not tension. "We are in the middle of evolving the audience score. We want to ensure its credibility," Benson said.