Amazon attacks social-media firms over its fake-review problem, saying they need to spend more money rooting out phony-review groups on their platforms

Jeff bezos
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. AP Photo/Charles Krupa
  • Amazon published a blog post Wednesday about fake reviews.
  • It said “bad actors” were increasingly soliciting fake reviews on social-media platforms.
  • Amazon said social-media companies needed to invest more in tools to root out this behavior.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Amazon said in a blog post Wednesday that its fight against fake reviews was hampered by sluggish social-media companies.

Amazon said that its systems to detect and block fake reviews stopped most of them from ever appearing – and that “bad actors” were therefore increasingly looking outside Amazon’s range, including on social-media sites, to solicit fake product reviews.

In the first three months of 2020, when Amazon alerted social-media platforms about fake-review groups, the platforms were taking “a median time of 45 days to shut down those groups from using their service to perpetrate abuse,” Amazon said.

This apparently sped up in 2021; Amazon said in the first three months of the year it reported 1,000 groups to social-media companies, which it said took five days on average to shut them down.

But social-media companies still needed to invest more in detecting fake reviews, it said.

“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.

It was “clear that this is an industry-wide battle, and we need to work together to make faster progress,” Amazon said – while acknowledging that its own detection systems weren’t “perfect.”

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Amazon did not name any social-media companies.

A Facebook representative said that “fraudulent and deceptive activity” was “not allowed on our platforms, including offering or trading fake reviews,” and that its “safety and security teams are continually working to help prevent these practices.”

Twitter declined to comment.

Social media isn’t the only place where people can buy fake Amazon reviews: The UK consumer watchdog Which found numerous websites selling bundles of reviews for as much as $11,000 in February.

Amazon did not give any particular reason it was publishing its blog post, but the Insider tech correspondent Rob Price tweeted that a UK newspaper was expected to publish an investigation into fake reviews on Amazon this Friday.