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06/17/2021

Amazon wants social media companies to help combat fake reviews

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Amazon says it is actively working to prevent fake reviews from being published on its site, but would like more assistance from some powerful entities.

In a corporate blog post, the e-tail giant said it “relentlessly innovates” to allow only genuine product reviews in its store. To proactively prevent fake or incentivized reviews, Amazon has developed and deployed machine learning technology which it pairs with expert human investigators.

In 2020, Amazon says it stopped more than 200 million suspected fake reviews before they were ever seen by a customer, with more than 99% of review enforcement driven by proactive detection. In addition to stopping these reviews, the company says it takes action to shut down and stop review submissions from the accounts contributing the fake reviews and to enforce bad actors' selling accounts trying to artificially benefit.

However, Amazon says that due to its continued improvements in detecting fake reviews and accounts associated with them, it is seeing an increasing trend of fake reviews being solicited outside Amazon, particularly via social media services. Amazon regularly reports this fake review activity to the social media company where it occurred, and says in first three months of 2020, it reported more than 300 groups to social media companies. 

This number rose to more than 1,000 groups reported to social media companies in the first three months of 2021. According to Amazon, social media took a median time of 45 days to shut down those groups from using their service to perpetrate fake reviews in the first three months of 2020. This improved to a median response time of five days in the first three months of 2021.

“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,” Amazon said in the blog post. “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. It will take constant innovation and partnership across industries and law enforcement to fully protect consumers and our honest selling partners.”