Amazon Passes the Buck: Blames Social Media for Rampant Fake Reviews

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos during the JFK Space Summit at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston, Wednesday, June 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Amazon has blamed social media companies for its own failure to remove rampant fake reviews from its website, claiming that “bad actors” turn to social networks to buy and sell fake product reviews.

The Guardian reports that Amazon is claiming that the real culprit behind the rampant issue of fake reviews across its platform is social media. The company alleges that “bad actors” are using social networks to buy and sell fake product reviews, making it almost impossible for Amazon to regulate the issue.

The company stated that it removed more than 200 million suspected fake reviews before they were seen by customers in 2020 alone. However, the issue remains widespread across Amazon’s platform. In 2021, a Which? investigation found that companies claiming to be able to guarantee “Amazon’s Choice” status on products within two weeks, and others claiming to have hundreds of thousands of reviewers ready and waiting to post reviews.

Amazon says that the blame for the rise in popularity of these organizations lies with social media companies who fail to act when warned that fake reviews are being solicited on their platforms.

In a blog post, Amazon stated:

In the first three months of 2020, we reported more than 300 groups to social media companies, who then took a median time of 45 days to shut down those groups from using their service to perpetrate abuse. In the first three months of 2021 we reported more than 1,000 such groups, with social media services taking a median time of five days to take them down.

While we appreciate that some social media companies have become much faster at responding, to address this problem at scale it is imperative for social media companies to invest adequately in proactive controls to detect and enforce fake reviews ahead of our reporting the issue to them.

Amazon did not name any specific social networks, but Facebook has been repeatedly criticized for failing to clamp down on such activity. The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority secured an agreement from Facebook in January to  “better identify, investigate and remove groups and other pages where fake and misleading reviews were being traded, and prevent them from reappearing,” but the CMA was forced to intervene a second time following a second investigation in 2021.

Amazon recently confirmed that it has removed RavPower, a popular phone battery and charger brand, from its platform following a report from the Wall Street Journal’s Nicole Nguyen in which it was stated that RavPower included an offer for a $35 gift card along with its products in exchange for a review. Amazon further confirmed that it has removed other battery brands including Aukey and Mpow from its store previously.

Read more at the Guardian here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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