Trustpilot has today announced the creation of a new global research and development and innovation hub in Edinburgh.

The move to Scotland will allow the review platform develop "new, world-leading technology" that it said proactively tackles behaviour that threatens trust online.

The hub is being supported through a £1.8 million R&D grant from Scottish Enterprise, bringing new investment into Scotland’s leading digital and technology sector and aims to initially create 30 new advanced data science jobs and new local partnerships in Edinburgh over the next three years.

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Peter Holten Muhlmann, founder and chief executive of Trustpilot, said: “The crisis of trust in society, driven to a great degree by mistrust in information online, has become a defining issue of our times.

"With the assistance of Scottish Enterprise, our new global R&D hub will become the epi-centre for accelerating our already leading efforts to tackle abuse and fraud related to consumer information, particularly consumer reviews.

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"It’s especially important as reviews have replaced company marketing as the most trusted source of information for consumers. We’re investing in even better fake detection to stimulate meaningful change.

"The technology scene in Edinburgh is thriving, with exceptional talent and an enviable network that will help us to meet our ambitions. We’re delighted to bring our global efforts to Scotland.”

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The announcement follows on from a recent "Trust Promise" made by Mr Muhlmann in an open letter, pledging seven new initiatives this year to further protect consumers with even greater transparency of the information on the consumer reviews platform.

One such initiative to roll out in the coming months will be the introduction of new "fraud fingerprinting" technology adding additional behavioural data points to those Trustpilot already collects and combining these with advanced data modelling to detect and map fraudulent online activity.

It will enable Trustpilot to paint a more holistic picture of the interconnected networks, actions, and behavioural patterns of fraudulent actors.

Such technologies will be surrounded by other changes to the platform including: preventing incentivised reviews, more stringent enforcement of breaches and even more transparency around how all companies and consumers use the platform, amongst others. 

Trustpilot’s new office will be spearheaded by two of Trustpilot’s executive team, Carolyn Jameson, chief legal and policy officer and Steve Garland, chief technology and information officer.

Ms Jameson, previously head of legal at Skyscanner, said:  “We take the responsibility to protect both consumers and businesses from fraudulent behaviour very seriously, and believe strong detection and enforcement measures are fundamental to our open review platform.

"Creating a fair and open environment where consumers’ voices can be heard and businesses are able to earn greater trust in their products and services requires the best thinking and expertise. We believe Edinburgh is the top place to find it, and I’m really excited to be a part of this initiative.”

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Mark Hallan, director of global investment at Scottish Enterprise, said: “Attracting global companies to invest and locate in Scotland will be critical to our efforts to resetting and restarting our economy following the impact of Covid-19. 

“Trustpilot’s decision to set up an R&D centre in Edinburgh is most welcome. Over the past few months, we have seen exponential growth in digital consumer activity and e-commerce, so it’s vital that customers can trust information that is available online, including online reviews. Trustpilot’s R&D project aims to improve the integrity of this data, providing increased confidence for e-consumers.

“Scotland remains an extraordinary proposition for global companies to invest in and as the recent EY Attractiveness Survey showed, we continue to be the most attractive location in the UK outside of London for foreign direct investment.

"While we know the environment for international trade and investment will be challenging due to Covid-19, inward investment will continue to be vital in delivering economic opportunities for communities across Scotland.”

Ivan McKee, minister for trade, investment and innovation, said: “I am delighted that Trustpilot has chosen to base its new global R&D and innovation hub in Edinburgh where it will develop world-leading technology.

"Over the coming months and years, as we recover from the economic impact of the global coronavirus pandemic, it is important that we look to the future and encourage new and innovative businesses to establish bases in Scotland.

"This grant from Scottish Enterprise will help secure new highly skilled jobs in Scotland, bring new investment into our leading digital and technology sector and further enhance Edinburgh’s reputation as a global technology centre.”