Amazon sues Facebook group admins over fake reviews

Parcels move along the conveyor at the Amazon Cyber ​​Monday fulfillment center in Robbinsville, NJ, USA on Monday, November. 29, 2021.

Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Amazon on Tuesday filed lawsuit against administrators over 10,000 facebook groups that allegedly acted as brokers of fake reviews.

The lawsuit, filed in Seattle’s King County Superior Court, accuses the group’s administrators of extorting product reviews in exchange for money or free products. One group, “Amazon Product Review”, had over 43,000 members and allegedly offered refunds or other payments to customers willing to leave fake reviews of products such as camera tripods and car stereos.

Another group called “Amazon Varified Buyer & Seller” had more than 2,500 members, the complaint said. Administrators allegedly looked for fake reviews and offered them to Amazon sellers, charging $10 per review, according to screenshots of Facebook posts included in the complaint.

facebook parent company Meta Amazon said it has removed half of the more than 10,000 groups reported by Amazon and continues to investigate others.

The case represents Amazon’s latest attempt eradicate fake reviews in the vast third-party market. The market now accounts for more than half of e-commerce sales and has helped the company bring record income. But fake reviews got tougher as Amazon’s online marketplace has grown to millions of third-party sellers. Attackers often seek to increase their product rankings or search rankings by asking for fake reviews.

It’s unclear who manages Facebook groups. According to the complaint, Amazon said it filed a lawsuit to find out their identities, shut down the groups, and force them to return “dishonestly received proceeds from spreading fake reviews.”

Amazon did not name the defendants in the complaint. It’s called “Jane does the d/b/d [doing business as] Creators, administrators and moderators of Facebook groups.

Amazon has said it has internal teams looking for fake review providers. Teams is working with Facebook to shut down groups. “However, new Facebook groups continue to emerge offering fake testimonials,” the complaint reads.

Many of the Facebook groups are private and require potential new members to provide proof that they are an Amazon seller or reviewer in order to be admitted. Posters often try to avoid detection by Facebook moderators by obfuscating the phrase “Refund after review” and typing “R**fund After R**vew” instead.

Amazon has previously said it is using a combination of machine learning tools and human moderators to try and curb fake reviews. He also asked other social networks to step in and help as fake review communities flourished on Facebook groups and messaging apps like Telegram, WhatsApp and WeChat.

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