Technology

Amazon sues more than 10,000 Facebook group administrators over fake reviews

FILE – In this Feb. 14, 2019, file photo, people stand in the lobby for Amazon offices in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Amazon said it filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against more than 10,000 Facebook group administrators for allegedly orchestrating fake reviews on Amazon in exchange for money or free products.

Amazon said in a statement that it has reported more than 10,000 fake review groups to Meta, Facebook’s parent company, and Meta has already taken down more than half of those groups for policy violations as it investigates others.

“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.”

Amazon introduced product reviews in 1995 as it expanded its digital store footprint, but many have taken advantage of the feature.

The groups solicit fake reviews for hundreds of products available on Amazon, including items like car stereos and camera tripods, Amazon said.

The tech giant said it has 12,000 employees dedicated to cracking down on fraud, including fake reviews, and the company proactively stopped more than 200 million suspected fake reviews in 2020 using its monitoring and technological tools.

But the alleged groups targeted in the lawsuit were set up to recruit individuals willing to post misleading reviews on the company’s stores in the U.S., United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Japan, according to Amazon.

One group, called “Amazon Product Review,” had more than 43,000 members and attempted to hide their activity and evade Facebook’s detection of fraudulent activity, Amazon said. Meta took down the group earlier this year.

Facebook said it does not allow groups that facilitate or encourage fake reviews and had already removed most of the groups in question.

“Groups that solicit or encourage fake reviews violate our policies and are removed,” Facebook spokesperson Dani Lever said in a statement to The Hill. “We are working with Amazon on this matter and will continue to partner across the industry to address spam and fake reviews.”

Tuesday’s lawsuit is far from the first attempt to fight fake reviews. Amazon has previously pursued legal action against those orchestrating fake reviews in both the U.S. and Europe.

Updated: 10:26 a.m.

Tags Amazon Facebook fake reviews Lawsuit Meta
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