Amazon filed a lawsuit against over 10,000 Facebook group administrators who allegedly brokered fake reviews, including one called “Amazon Product Review,” which had more than 43,000 members.
The groups are set up to recruit individuals willing to post incentivized and misleading reviews on Amazon’s online stores in the US, the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Japan and offer refunds or other payments to buyers willing to leave fake reviews on products like camera tripods and car stereos.
According to screenshots of Facebook messages included in the complaint, another group, called “Amazon Varified Buyer & Seller,” had more than 2,500 members complaint said administrators allegedly sought out fake reviews and offered them to Amazon sellers, charging $10 per review.
Amazon said that Facebook parent company Meta has taken down half of the more than 10,000 groups reported by Amazon and continues to investigate others.
The case represents Amazon’s latest effort to root out fake reviews on its sprawling third-party marketplace. The marketplace accounts for more than half of e-commerce sales and has helped the company generate record revenue.
Fake reviews have become more severe as Amazon’s online marketplace has grown to amass millions of third-party merchants. Bad actors often seek to boost their product ratings or search ranking by soliciting fake reviews.
.And because it’s unknown who is running the Facebook groups, Amazon said it filed the lawsuit to learn their identities, shut down the groups, and compel them to return their “ill-gotten gains from brokering fake reviews,” according to the complaint.
Amazon said it has internal teams that scope out fake review purveyors. The teams work with Facebook to close the groups. “Nonetheless, new Facebook groups offering fake reviews continue to appear,” the complaint states.
Dharmesh Mehta, Amazon’s vice president of selling partner services, said, “Our teams stop millions of suspicious reviews before customers ever see them, and this lawsuit goes a step further to uncover perpetrators operating on social media,”
Added, “Proactive legal action targeting bad actors is one of many ways we protect customers by holding bad actors accountable.”
Amazon has previously said it uses a combination of machine-learning tools and human moderators to try to curb fake reviews. It’s also asked other social media companies to step in and assist, as fake review communities have flourished in Facebook groups and messaging apps like Telegram, WhatsApp, and WeChat.
It’s known that Amazon introduced reviews in 1995 to help customers make more informed shopping decisions.