Amazon’s long-running anti-fake-review campaign has recently achieved some success. According to TechCrunch, Amazon has filed a lawsuit against the administrators of over 10,000 Facebook groups for attempting to coordinate fake reviews in exchange for free products or money.
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The group’s operators attempted to recruit people in the United States, the United Kingdom, four European countries, and Japan.
Amazon Product Review, for example, attempted to avoid detection by “obfuscating” letters in phrases used to detect such activity. Meta withdrew the 43,000-member group earlier this year.
The legal action follows roughly two years of identifying rogue Facebook groups. Amazon stated that it would use information obtained during the investigation to identify the perpetrators and remove fake reviews originating from these communities.
Amazon has been suing fake review peddlers since 2015, and its efforts have increased in recent years. In the first quarter of 2021, the online shopping giant reported over 1,000 paid review groups to social networks, which is three times the volume reported the previous year.
However, the company claimed that reports and lawsuits were insufficient to stop fake reviews. It hoped that a stronger “public-private partnership” between online retailers, social networks, and law enforcement would result in a more permanent solution.
The question is whether Amazon can effectively deter fake reviews. This latest bust highlights the scope of the problem: it’s simple to set up a social media group that goes undetected for long enough to cause significant harm.
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UK regulators are skeptical that Amazon is doing enough, and have launched an investigation into the company’s approach to bogus review content. Amazon is fighting a battle that may be difficult to win even under ideal conditions, and it is unclear whether the company’s current strategy is effective.