Tripadvisor publishes reviews of hotels and restaurants, as well as other travel information.
Following complaints from a national hoteliers’ association and a consumer protection agency, Italy’s competition watchdog reviewed the case and ruled that the company was not honest with Internet users.
According to the AGCM, its investigation discovered a “practice of spreading misleading information about the sources of the reviews”.
TripAdvisor said in a statement that it would appeal the findings and insists that reviews are “authentic and genuine”.
The company is obliged to pay the 500,000-euro fine in 30 days and has 90 days to present a remedy.
“We firmly believe that TripAdvisor is a force for good — both for consumers and the hospitality industry,” the company said.
TripAdvisor has more than 200 million reviews and opinions covering more than 4.4 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions.