In a challenge to fraudsters, Amazon has announced that it has filed legal action against the administrators of more than 10,000 Facebook groups that attempt to orchestrate fake reviews in exchange for money or free products.
Amazon plans to use information discovered in its legal action to identify bad actors and remove fake reviews commissioned by them that haven’t already been detected by its technology, investigators, and continuous monitoring, it stated.
According to Amazon, the fraudsters behind such groups solicit fake reviews for hundreds of products available for sale on Amazon. One of the groups identified in the lawsuit is dubbed Amazon Product Review, which had more than 43,000 members until Facebook parent Meta took down the group earlier this year. Amazon’s investigations revealed that the group’s administrators tried to hide their activity and evade Facebook’s detection, in part by altering letters from problematic phrases.
Amazon prohibits fake reviews and has more than 12,000 employees around the world working on fraud and abuse including fake reviews. A dedicated team investigates fake review schemes on social media sites as well, Amazon noted, including Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter, reporting problems to the companies operating them. Since 2020, Amazon has reported more than 10,000 fake review groups to Meta, it pointed out. Of these, Meta has taken down more than half of the groups for policy violations and continues to investigate others.
Still, Amazon maintains, fake reviews remain an industry-wide problem, and civil litigation is only one step toward addressing them. Permanently eliminating fake reviews across retail, travel and other sectors will require greater public-private partnership including collaboration between the affected companies, social media sites and law enforcement, all focused on a goal of greater consumer protection. Amazon declared that it remains eager to continue partnering with all relevant stakeholders to achieve that mutual goal.
“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 vp of selling partner services, in announcing the lawsuits. “Proactive legal action targeting bad actors is one of many ways we protect customers by holding bad actors accountable.”