According to a study from BrightLocal, 79 percent of shoppers have confidence in online reviews as much as personal recommendations. But the eCommerce giant Amazon is suing Facebook group admins as it feels that online reviews posted by Facebook users are causing damages to its business.
When purchasing online, we mostly look for genuine reviews from other users. But what if the reviews posted below the product description are fake and completely bogus?
The fake review battle isn’t something new to highlight; instead, Amazon has been fighting it for a long. It was mostly restricted to banning accounts and groups from the biggest social media websites, especially Facebook. But in the recent press release, Amazon confirmed taking the battle to the court of law.
Amazon Sues Facebook Group Admins
To protect customers and the brand image, Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is taking legal action against admins of over 10,000 Facebook groups who paid or gifted users to post fake reviews on the website for specific categories of products.
These groups on Facebook targeted individuals to participate in an easy money-making trick by simply posting a positive review on Amazon’s stores in the U.S., Germany, France, Spain, Japan, Italy, and the UK.
The admins of these Facebook groups were incentivizing posting reviews for hundreds of products on Amazon’s website that majorly included camera tripods and car stereos. One such group on Facebook was called “Amazon Product Review,” which had over 43,000 members. Meta, earlier known as Facebook, however, took it down earlier this year. Investigations by Amazon reveal that the group’s administrators were smart enough to hide their fraud by changing some problematic words from the group name, which helped evade Facebook’s detection.
Further in the press release, Amazon added that they strictly prohibit fake reviews on their platform and have a dedicated team of over 12,000 employees across the globe who regularly scans various social media platforms for fake reviews, that include Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter. Since 2020, the company has reported over 10,000 affected groups to Meta, and they have banned most groups from them. Still, it’s a long-term battle.
Words by Amazon
“Our teams stop millions of suspicious reviews before customers ever see them, and this lawsuit goes further to uncover perpetrators operating on social media,” said Dharmesh Mehta, vice president of Amazon’s Selling Partner Services.
He added, “Proactive legal action targeting bad actors is one of many ways we protect customers by holding bad actors accountable.”
The Lawsuit will help Amazon to use the information in the future to identify the culprits and take the battle ahead by creating advanced technologies to monitor these groups continuously. With the help of expert investigators, they will try to completely evade the problem of fake reviews. But it isn’t going to be easy for them.
Moreover, Amazon reported that as a company, they always target that every review appearing on their platform must be trustworthy and helps customers make informed decisions about product capabilities. This helps them maintain the brand name and continue to evolve as the most customer-centric company on the planet.
The company already uses industry-leading tools in its fight against fake reviews, stopping over 200 million fake reviews from being posted in 2020 alone. The legal action will surely set an example and reflect the company’s strictness.
It impacts customers and Amazon as well!
A fake review misguides customers about the quality or functionality of the product where they pay more for a similar product just because people posted a positive review. It hurt customer sentiments and beliefs in the brand.
A customer tricked once is less likely to return, which hurts Amazon’s image and decreases their repeat buying rate. The brand has already invested massively in subscription-based models like Amazon Prime, and they focus a lot on retaining a customer forever. But one such review will cost them a customer once and for all.
Further, it increases the pressure on customer services and warehousing teams where they need to handle more queries and return/replacement shipments.
But, why Facebook admins, not Meta?
Ever wondered why Amazon is taking a long way ahead in finding those 10,000 Facebook group admins instead of directly suing Meta? Well, it’s because of the debatable internet law section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
The law allows internet giants like Facebook to host third-party content without being responsible for the content posted on their platform. That means if someone decides to operate a get paid to post review group on Facebook, then Amazon has to go for the person doing the wrong, not the platform where it’s happening.
It also means that Amazon is not liable for reviews posted on their websites and if any customer face problems, they need to sue the person who posted the review, not Amazon.
However, from the moral and business perspective, it hurt companies greatly in terms of loyalty and trustworthiness; that’s why Amazon is investing heavily to tackle the problem.
A business for retailers and review brokers
The review posting has become a widespread business because it’s a win-win case for retailers and fake review group admins.
Retailers are always looking for positive reviews for their products on Amazon because it helps them to climb ahead on top of the list, which means whenever customers search for a specific product, they will find a well-rated product on top. It hurts the ranking of a genuine product. On the other hand, the admins of fraudulent groups charge money in return for this service.
Fraudsters and immoral retailers win, but customers and amazon losses.
Nothing new for Amazon
Battling fake reviews isn’t something new for Amazon. Instead, the reports back in 2020 claim that the company has been struggling and sued many review brokers. But with all that resources, advanced tech, and thousands of employees, it doesn’t seem that Amazon was successful in completely eradicating the problem.
However, these efforts surely show a positive impact, and they have controlled the problem so far. Let’s see what lies ahead in the path of a fake review battle.
Beware of posting reviews for money.
Don’t be surprised if you find someone offering you money or paying to rent your Facebook account. Surely, it’s not a scam for you, and the review brokers will pay for it. But now you already understand the bigger picture and how it deeply impacts other customers like you.
It’s not just morally incorrect but also exposes you to a probability of getting sued. A small exchange for money might make you responsible for something huge managed by review brokers online.
Amazon will continue to battle against fake reviews, but you, as a knowledgeable customer, can save yourself from the problem. Don’t just trust written reviews posted on Amazon; instead, browse for customer videos and product images because they cannot be faked easily.
With that, try to go with Amazon Fulfilled or Amazon choice products. These categories are usually deeply monitored by the platform and have less probability of fake reviews.
A study from Cheq highlights that almost 4% of all online reviews are fake and the expected damages caused by these fake reviews amount to $152 billion.
Amazon and every online marketplace seem to have this problem with a difficult road ahead for solutions. However, no other platforms seem to be as concerned as Amazon. We guess it’s because of the size of the operations.
Surely, Amazon will continue to find and remove fake reviews, but you must take precautions the next time you purchase.