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Amazon sues 10,000 Facebook groups over fake reviews

When it comes to reviews on Amazon and similar shopping sites, most people have by now developed their own approach to dealing with them.

Some use a blend of instinct and experience to decide if what they’re reading is genuine, while others scan a broad selection to try to get an overall feel for a product’s reputation. Of course, some folks simply ignore them altogether.

The simple fact is, it’s extremely challenging to properly determine if what we’re reading has been posted by a genuine customer or by someone paid to offer false praise.

Amazon has been fighting to keep bogus reviews off its site for years, and has invested huge amounts of money on automated and human-driven systems to try to keep on top of the situation.

The online shopping giant’s latest assault on fake reviews sees it suing the administrators of more than 10,000 Facebook groups that it accuses of organizing schemes involving fake reviews that end up on Amazon.

“These groups are set up to recruit individuals willing to post incentivized and misleading reviews on Amazon’s stores in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Japan,” the company said in a post on its website.

It added: “The fraudsters behind such groups solicit fake reviews for hundreds of products available for sale on Amazon, including car stereos and camera tripods.”

One of the Facebook groups mentioned in Amazon’s lawsuit is called Amazon Product Review. It had more than 43,000 members when Facebook-owned Meta kicked it off its platform earlier this year. Amazonsaid that the group’s administrators tried to hide their activity and evade detection by slightly altering the spelling of words in phrases designed to alert A.I.-powered software that searches for fake reviews.

Amazon said it has more than 12,000 employees globally working to protect its shopping site from fraud and abuse, including fake reviews.

Another Amazon-employed team is tasked with identifying fake review schemes on social media platforms that include Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter. Any abuse that’s spotted is then reported to those companies, which are expected to remove the nefarious content.

“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,” Amazon executive Dharmesh Mehta said of its latest action. “Proactive legal action targeting bad actors is one of many ways we protect customers by holding bad actors accountable.”

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