Amazon Sues Facebook Group Admins Over Massive Fake Reviews Plot

Amazon Sues Facebook Group Admins Over Massive Fake Reviews Plot
Fake reviews were allegedly left on Amazon sites in the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. (Image: Denis Charlet, Getty Images)

Amazon has filed lawsuits against the administrators of over 10,000 Facebook groups that are allegedly part of a network to recruit individuals to leave fake reviews for products on Amazon in exchange for money or free products.

Amazon, of course, is the marketplace where you can have unfettered access to almost any product you need. Likewise, Amazon’s trusted review system is usually an honest way to get a look at the quality of products — well, sort of. Today, Amazon revealed in a press release that it filed a lawsuit against the administrators of over 10,000 Facebook groups. These groups are reportedly part of a coordinated effort to recruit individuals to leave fake reviews for different products on Amazon stores in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Japan

“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 in the press release. Mehta is 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.”

Amazon says that one group in particular had 43,000 members until it was taken down by Meta earlier this year. The group was vaguely called “Amazon Product Review,” according to the company, and its administrators were able to obfuscate their activity from Facebook’s content filters by omitting certain letters from problematic words. The company said that users who posted fake reviews would receive money or products in return, and explained to Gizmodo in an email that this reward scheme is not through Amazon itself, but is set up by the administrators of the groups or via third-party websites.

Amazon is quite good at squashing organised movements. News broke in April that the company considered spending $US20,000 ($27,764) per week on consultants to incentivise warehouse workers to abandon unionization efforts at a Staten Island warehouse.