One of the groups called Amazon Product Review had more than 43,000 members before it was shut down by Meta earlier this year.
Amazon has filed a lawsuit against the admins of more than 10,000 Facebook groups that it claims orchestrate fake product reviews on the e-commerce website in exchange for money or free products.
These groups aim to incentivise and recruit regular people to write “misleading reviews” about certain products on Amazon across the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Japan, the company said.
Filed in a court close to Amazon’s Seattle headquarters today (19 July), the lawsuit will be used to help the company identify culprits and crack down on fake reviews commissioned by them.
Amazon said the information that emerges out of the lawsuit will complement the technology and continuous monitoring that the online seller already employs to minimise fake reviews.
“Our teams stop millions of suspicious reviews before they’re ever seen by customers, and this lawsuit goes a step further to uncover perpetrators operating on social media,” said Dharmesh Mehta, Amazon vice-president of selling partner services.
“Proactive legal action targeting bad actors is one of many ways we protect customers by holding bad actors accountable.”
Amazon v fake reviews
Amazon has been taking legal action on groups promoting fake reviews since 2015, when it first targeted websites selling four and five-star reviews.
Since 2020, it has reported more than 10,000 fake review groups to Meta, Facebook’s parent company. Around half of these groups have been taken down for policy violations, Amazon said.
One of the groups targeted in the lawsuit, called Amazon Product Review, had 43,000 members before Meta shut it down earlier this year. Amazon said that it was able to avoid detection by Facebook’s violation mechanisms by disguising key phrases that attract attention.
Fake product reviews can diminish the credibility of sellers and raise consumer protection concerns. Amazon has a dedicated team to identify fake review schemes on social media sites and report them to the companies.
But the issue is attracting government attention, too. New proposals currently under consideration in the UK will make it illegal to pay someone to write or host fake reviews, according to BBC News.
Last year, the country’s competition regulator probed Amazon and Google on whether they take sufficient action against fake reviews online and if inaction violates consumer protection laws.
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