Dive Brief:

  • In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, Amazon accused administrators of more than 10,000 Facebook groups of coordinating to post fraudulent reviews on its platform to receive cash or free items, according to a company press release
  • These groups allegedly recruited members to receive incentives for fake reviews on Amazon stores in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Japan and other countries, the company said.
  • In the past year, Amazon has shut down a number of major review brokers targeting customers in the U.S. and abroad by taking legal action.

Dive Insight:

In its Tuesday statement, Amazon stressed the need for collaboration between companies, social media platforms and law enforcement to protect consumers in retail, travel and other sectors from fraudulent reviews. The company currently has over 12,000 employees devoted to detecting fake reviews and other forms of fraud and abuse.

Amazon has reported more than 10,000 false review groups to Meta since 2020. Meta, which owns Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, has taken down more than half of these groups for violating its rules and is investigating more alleged fraudsters, according to the release.

“Groups that solicit or encourage fake reviews violate our policies and are removed,” a Meta spokesperson said in a statement to Retail Dive. “We are working with Amazon on this matter and will continue to partner across the industry to address spam and fake reviews.”

For years, Amazon has used the courts to target fraudulent reviewers and counterfeit sellers. In 2016, the e-commerce behemoth sued three merchants for allegedly sharing positive reviews about their products via fake accounts. Earlier this year, the company filed lawsuits against AppSally and Rebatest, accusing the two sites of orchestrating the posting of fraudulent product reviews in exchange for free goods or money. The retailer has also teamed up with K.F. Beauty, Valentino and Salvatore Ferragamo to sue alleged counterfeit sellers on its platform as the company contends with knockoffs.

In addition to Facebook, Amazon said it has a team of investigators to find fake review schemes on platforms like Instagram, TikTok and Twitter and reports its findings to those companies.

“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,” Dharmesh Mehta, Amazon’s vice president of selling partner services, said in a statement. “Proactive legal action targeting bad actors is one of many ways we protect customers by holding bad actors accountable.”

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