Social networks need to do more to stop fake reviews, Amazon says

Amazon (PA Archive)
14:34pm, Wed 16 Jun 2021
CBAD8A00-D2B9-4E0E-ADDF-D0366C357A34 Created with sketchtool. E9A4AA46-7DC3-48B8-9CE2-D75274FB8967 Created with sketchtool. 65CCAE04-4748-4D0F-8696-A91D8EB3E7DC Created with sketchtool.

Amazon has told social networks to take greater responsibility for fake reviews facilitated on their platforms, saying the problem is increasingly outside of its control.

The online shopping site pointed the blame towards social media firms for not investing enough in fraud controls and reacting too slowly to remove posts.

Fake and misleading reviews on Amazon product pages have long been an issue for the company, with several reports into the issue by the Which? consumer group in recent years, as well as investigations by the competition regulator.

Amazon said it stopped more than 200 million suspected fake reviews before they were seen by a customer last year, almost all of which were picked up by proactive detection technology.

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

However, the firm claims its ability to deal with matters further is restricted due to a growing trend of bad actors attempting to solicit fake reviews outside Amazon, particularly via social media.

Although Amazon does not name any companies specifically, Facebook has previously been the focus of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which secured commitments from the tech giant to improve efforts identifying and removing groups and other pages where fake and misleading reviews were sold.

In April, Facebook removed more than 16,000 groups trading in fake and misleading reviews.

Amazon said in a blog post: “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.”

The firm claims it reported more than 300 groups to unnamed “social media companies” in the first three months of 2020, which took a median time of 45 days to shut down.

Response times appeared to speed up a year later, with more than 1,000 such groups reported for the same period in 2021 and a median time of five days taken to take them down.

“We need social media companies whose services are being used to facilitate fake reviews to proactively invest in fraud and fake review controls, partner with us to stop these bad actors, and help consumers shop with confidence,” Amazon added.

Sign up to our newsletter