Paid to create fake product reviews on Amazon

Amazon has sued more than 11,000 people connected to Facebook discussion groups who sell and buy fake reviews of products sold on the e-commerce platform.

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According to the document, filed Monday in the King County Civil Court, which includes Seattle (northwest), where Amazon is headquartered, the tech giant intends to use this procedure to expose the offending users whose real identities are not known is public.

These are discussion group creators, administrators and moderators, often private, dedicated to buying and selling fake reviews and funded by companies that sell products on Amazon.

Particularly coveted are “Verified Reviews on Amazon,” a label that the platform gives reviews from consumers who actually bought the product.

Netizens who agree to post false reviews under their name will be paid or reimbursed for their purchase, according to the court document consulted by AFP.

To fool the vigilance of Facebook moderators and artificial intelligence software, many of the creators of these groups use shortened versions of words that could draw attention to their practices.

In particular, Amazon names a group that at times had up to 43,000 subscribers.

When asked by AFP, Facebook, which was not directly affected by the case, said it had withdrawn “the majority” of the groups named in the Amazon case from the social network.

“Groups that solicit or encourage false reviews are in violation of our policies and will be removed,” a spokeswoman said.

“We are working with Amazon on this and will continue to work with the industry to address spam and fake reviews,” she added.

Amazon says it’s caught more than 200 million fake reviews on its platform, but admits it hasn’t fixed the problem because these practices are organized “primarily on third-party sites.”

“False reviews threaten Amazon’s reputation and undermine consumer confidence,” argues the platform, which is urging Facebook group organizers to halt their activities and seek unspecified damages from them.

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