Amazon’s War Against Fake Reviews: 10,000 Facebook Groups Sued

Amazon’s War Against Fake Reviews: 10,000 Facebook Groups Sued

Comments on command proliferate on social media and are an obstacle to the credibility of online sales

A lawsuit against the administrators of over 10,000 Facebook groups dedicated to obtaining fake reviews in exchange for free products or money. So Amazon tries to defeat the spread of ad hoc comments that proliferate online, undermining a theoretically valuable ally for consumer choices.

A problem rooted for years that goes far beyond the digital shop of the American multinational, the practice of false opinions continues to find fertile ground in social media (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter), where private groups use code words to circumvent the tools defensive of the various platforms. With this latest complaint, however, Amazon gives a concrete push to a good portion of brokers intent on recruiting people willing to sign, for a reward, reviews on command to be placed in Amazon digital stores in Italy, USA, Spain, France, Germany, United Kingdom and Japan.

In the fall of 2016, Amazon knocked out reviews related to discounted or free products, without resolving the exchanges of favors and reviews between third-party sellers and users. So much so that, for example, in 2020 a Financial Times investigation revealed how nine of the top ten top Amazon UK reviewers were linked to irregular activities.

Forced to find effective countermeasures to the spread of the phenomenon, Amazon now employs advanced technologies and more than 12,000 employees to prevent and detect fraud and illegal conduct on the platform. According to the data reported by the company, in 2020 alone there were more than 200 million fake reviews blocked in a preventive manner. And within this ecosystem to be eradicated are the more than 10,000 specialized groups that have spread to Facebook, with more than 50% of these having been eliminated by Meta for violating the platform’s policies. Amazon did not report details on the groups identified with the exception of Amazon Product Review, which was removed from Meta in early 2021, with over 43,000 subscribers.

It is the electronics sector that is particularly targeted, especially for radios and camera tripods. Brands like Aukey, Mpow and RavPower have paid dearly for it, removed last year after offering shoppers a coupon in exchange for a review. Without forgetting sites like AppSally and Rebatest, born precisely to spread reviews and sued by Amazon last February for offers of money in exchange for positive comments on certain products.

“Legal action is one of the tools we want to protect customers from false comments and is another step in identifying those responsible for social media,” said Dharmesh Mehta, vice president of Selling Partner Services at Amazon.