Amazon has commenced legal action against more than 10.000 administrators of Facebook groups for orchestrating fraudulent review activity on Amazon Marketplace. This is as the battle on fake reviews heats up.
The online retailing behemoth filed a lawsuit in Seattle’s King County Superior Court on Tuesday, accusing the people in charge of these Facebook groups of brokering fake reviews for third-party Amazon sellers in exchange for money or free products. In a press release, Amazon stated that the groups have been created to allow for misleading and incentive product reviews on Amazon.com in the U.S. and U.K.
One group identified in the complaint by the name “Amazon Product Review” reportedly had over 43,000 members before it was removed by Facebook’s parent company Meta earlier this year for allowing members to solicit fake reviews for products like car stereos and camera tripods. While “Amazon Product Review” no longer exists, Amazon alleges it could still be operating under a different name.
Amazon claims it is suing to expose fraudsters behind these fraudulent review schemes. Amazon already has a mix of machine learning, human investigators, to moderate reviews. But Amazon said it would use all information obtained during the legal process to delete 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,” says Dharmesh Mehta, Amazon’s 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.”
Learn more Inside the War on Fake Consumer Reviews
Meta has been working alongside Amazon to tackle the issue with review solicitation lists. Meta has now taken down nearly half of more than 10,000 Amazon review solicitation groups, with others still being investigated.
“Groups that solicit or encourage fake reviews violate our policies and are removed,” a Meta spokesperson says. “We are working with Amazon on this matter and will continue to partner across the industry to address spam and fake reviews.”
Fake reviews, and the bad actors behind them, aren’t a new problem for Amazon. Which? was founded by the U.K. consumer advocacy organisation. published an investigation into how companies that had been set up for the purpose of flooding Amazon sellers’ product listings with bogus praise were fueling a huge global industry of coordinated online reviews. Later that year, Amazon banned several high-profile sellers from using prohibited techniques to obtain reviews.
Amazon’s new legal filing comes on the heels of renewed governmental efforts to quell the widespread fake reviews industry, which influenced around $152 billion in global spending last year, according to a report from the World Economic Forum. The U.K. government announced new plans in recent months to make fake reviews “clearly illegal,” while the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed to tighten related guidelines to bring them up to speed with the modern, digitized economy.
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