If you’ve bought a five-star rated item on Amazon only to fall apart a few days after getting it, you’ve probably wondered if any of these reviewers actually used the product. Well, spoiler alert, it turns out they might not have, as Amazon is suing over 10,000 people for orchestrating plots to leave thousands of false product reviews on its digital stores.
Filed on Monday, the legal action targets Facebook group admins who accepted money or other favors in exchange for posting a bunch of made-up reviews for products sold on Amazon in the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Japan (via TechCrunch (opens in new tab)).
This isn’t the first time Amazon has taken such steps against false reviews on its services – with the 10,000 toll reportedly just the amount of groups Amazon has reported to Facebook since 2020. In fact, it’s been suing people for false reviews since at least minus 2015 .
In addition to legal action, Amazon is also trying to deploy some other tactics to stop fake reviews. The company relies on AI tools designed to look for ratings that look suspicious – but it also uses real people to find bad actors. As a result, a 2021 Amazon blog post explained that over 200 million fake reviews were blocked in 2020 before they were even seen by a customer.
However, despite these successes, some fake reviews are still popping up, and while Amazon does its part to blame social media platforms like Facebook that facilitate fake review groups, at the end of the day the responsibility lies with Amazon itself.
We reached out to Amazon to learn more about its latest legal action and how it intends to combat false reviews on its platform in the future.
Review: The Best Thing They Never Bought
Considering that this isn’t the first time Amazon has had to sue people for fake reviews, it seems their current method is clearly not effective. But what else can he do?
Well, maybe it’s time to change who can review products and eliminate all accounts that left a rating but didn’t buy the item.
While Amazon does its part to promote “Verified Purchase” reviews when you scroll to the bottom of the page – which highlights reviews from accounts that purchased the product at its regular price (or received only a small discount) – this is nonetheless be bad actors to increase the overall ratings count and spam with 5 star ratings. How often have you actually read the in-depth reviews and not just clicked Buy Now on that four and a half star product with 7,683 ratings?
Instead, it would be far better to just count Verified Purchase ratings and remove any ratings that don’t meet the same standards.
Of course, this method has its flaws – mostly it prevents people from leaving a rating if they buy the device from elsewhere – but this seems like a small price to pay for more peace of mind that the reviews left are genuine. No doubt there will be bad actors who will also find new ways to beat this system, but it will definitely be harder (and more expensive), limiting the extent of the problem.
We’ll have to wait and see what actions Amazon takes next, but for something more immediate, we recommend reading our guide on how to spot fake Amazon reviews. While we cannot guarantee that it will keep you completely safe, it should limit the chances of you being misled by a false review.