10,000 Facebook Group Administrators are being sued by Amazon for fake reviews.

by | Apr 25, 2023

Amazon has sued more than 10,000 Facebook group administrators, alleging that they coordinated to write fraudulent reviews in return for cash or free goods.

The Seattle-based e-commerce giant said in a statement on its website on Tuesday that the Facebook groups were created to enlist individuals “ready to publish incentivized and fake reviews about the products” across its stores in the US, the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Japan.

For Amazon and e-commerce in general, the issue of fake reviews is not new. Although politicians and authorities have questioned whether the corporation is doing enough to tackle the issue, Amazon itself has previously sued individuals it said were providing false testimonials. UK competition regulators looked at whether Google and the online store were doing enough to safeguard customers last year.

Amazon said in the statement that one of the Facebook groups it is aiming for “Amazon Product Review” has more than 43,000 members. The business said that despite Facebook taking down the group this year, it managed to avoid being discovered by “altering letters in sentences that would set off Facebook’s alarms.”

Since 2020, Amazon has informed Meta, the parent company of Facebook, of more than 10,000 fraudulent review organizations. According to Amazon, Meta has taken down half of these groups and is looking into the other ones.

In order to “identify troublesome groups and eliminate bogus reviews commissioned by these fraudsters that have not previously been recognised by Amazon’s superior technology, professional investigators, and constant monitoring,” Amazon says it will use the discovery process.

Although there may be constant monitoring, it is obvious that every day, all over the world, tens of thousands of fraudulent evaluations force items over the online retailer’s vast digital shop. Regulators are paying attention, which will undoubtedly ignite a little fire under everyone’s preferred online shopping colossus.

For years, Amazon has struggled with reviews that exaggerate the quality of products. In 2018, a Washington Post study discovered that several product categories, including bluetooth headphones and health pills, were dominated by evaluations that were blatantly fraudulent.

The Post discovered a booming cottage economy selling false reviews on Facebook at the time. According to The Washington Post, sellers solicit Amazon customers on Facebook through “dozens of networks, including Amazon Review Club and Amazon Reviewers Group,” to provide positive reviews in return for cash or other rewards.

Amazon recognised the severity of the issue in a blog post from the previous year. The business stated: “We have witnessed a rising trend of malicious people trying to solicit fake reviews outside of Amazon, notably via social networking sites such as Facebook, due to our continued improvements in detection of fake reviews and links between bad-actors (Fake reviewers) purchasing and selling accounts.

In the first quarter of 2021, Amazon reported more than 1,000 review-selling organisations to social media networks, a threefold increase from the same period the previous year. The firm was eager to place the blame on social media companies for their lacklustre enforcement of those organisations when they break platform rules, but it’s unclear whether it speaks to the frequency of bogus reviews or the online store taking the matter more seriously.

In the end, the worst misleading information that internet businesses are failing to get rid of isn’t fake reviews. However, they serve as another another illustration of how systemic issues may get out of hand while you were focused on getting the queue to move forward when you had a sufficiently large cash-printing (or cash-burning) internet machine. And occasionally, such issues encourage all sorts of strange or undesirable behaviour. In this instance, a tiny industry of individuals is profiting from making subpar things appear good. Once this process is in action, it is challenging to clean up the mess the large money machine left behind.