Amazon has filed a lawsuit against more than 10,000 Facebook groups this morning in an attempt to crack down on fake reviews.
The issue of fraudsters has haunted the e-commerce giant for a while now, and today marks the latest step by the platform to prevent bad actors in its online stores.
Reviews are crucial on Amazon because they boost sellers’ visibility and place them higher up on search engine results. It is also important from Amazon’s perspective as the rise of fake reviews erodes trust with customers.
The company prohibits fake reviews and boasts more than 12,000 employees around the world to tackle fraud and abuse.
The fraudsters behind the targeted Facebook groups solicit fake reviews for hundreds of products available for sale on Amazon, including car stereos and camera tripods.
One of the groups identified in the lawsuit is “Amazon Product Review,” which had more than 43,000 members until Meta took down the group earlier this year.
Amazon’s investigations revealed that the group’s administrators attempted to hide their activity and evade Facebook’s detection, in part by obfuscating letters from problematic phrases.
“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’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.”
Since 2020, Amazon has reported more than 10,000 fake review groups to Meta. Of these, Meta has taken down more than half of the groups for policy violations and continues to investigate others.
The US giant will use information discovered in this legal action to identify bad actors and remove fake reviews commissioned by bad actors that haven’t already been detected.
Commenting on the move, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Which? Rocio Concha said: “It is positive that Amazon has taken legal action against some of the fake review brokers operating on Facebook, a problem Which?’s investigations have repeatedly exposed. However, it raises big question marks about the proactive action Facebook is taking to crack down on fake review agents and protect consumers.
“Facebook needs to explain why this activity appears to be rife, and the Competition and Markets Authority must challenge the company to provide evidence to show that the action it is taking is effective. Otherwise, it should consider stronger action against the platform.
“The government has announced that it plans to give the CMA stronger powers to protect consumers from an avalanche of fake reviews. These digital markets, competition and consumer reforms must be made into law as a priority.”
Meta said in a statement: “Groups that solicit or encourage fake reviews violate our policies and are removed. We are working with Amazon on this matter and will continue to partner across the industry to address spam and fake reviews.”