By: April Carson
On Tuesday, the attorneys general of several states sued the administrators of more than 10,000 Facebook groups that they claim have been used to perpetrate fraud.
The group's administrators are accused of offering money or free goods in exchange for product evaluations in a class action lawsuit filed in King County Superior Court in Seattle. “Amazon Product Review” had more than 43,000 members and allegedly offered refunds or other payment to purchasers willing to submit fraudulent reviews on items like camera tripods and car stereos.
The lawsuit seeks damages and an injunction to stop the group's administrators from running their business. Amazon has a similar suit pending against an individual who allegedly created and operated a service that sold positive reviews.
According to the complaint, another group on Facebook, called "Amazon Varified Buyer & Seller," had more than 2,500 members. Administrators are said to have sought out phony reviews and given them to Amazon merchants for $10 each.
Both groups are accused of violating Amazon's terms of service.
The lawsuit comes as Amazon is facing increased scrutiny over the authenticity of some of its reviews. The company recently announced plans to crack down on sellers who offer free or discounted products in exchange for positive feedback.
Meta, the parent corporation of Amazon's group-PRODUCT page, has removed half of the more than 10,000 groups mentioned by Amazon and is continuing to investigate others.
The lawsuit, which was filed in California by a couple of Amazon merchants, is the company's latest bid to eradicate fraudulent product reviews on its vast third-party market. The marketplace now accounts for more than half of e-commerce transactions and has helped the business achieve record revenue. However, as Amazon's online marketplace has expanded to include millions of third-party vendors, fake reviews have become increasingly common among bad actors seeking to improve their product ratings or search rankings. Bad actors frequently try to enhance their product ratings or position by soliciting phony reviews.
The people behind these Facebook groups have yet to be identified. According to the complaint, Amazon filed the lawsuit in order to learn the organizations' identities, disband them, and demand that they return any "ill-gotten gains from brokering fraudulent reviews."
The complaint, which was filed on July 16 and made public on Monday, did not name specific people. "Jane Does d/b/a Facebook groups creators, admins, and moderators" were named.
Internally, Amazon has teams that investigate fake review providers. The groups are closed in collaboration with Facebook. "New Facebook groups dedicated to providing phony reviews, however, continue to spring up," the complaint adds.
Many of the Facebook groups are private, and prospective new members must provide proof that they're an Amazon vendor or reviewer in order to join. By altering "Refund after review" to "R**fund Aftr R**vew," posters will frequently try to avoid detection by Facebook's moderators.
Amazon has previously stated that it uses a mix of machine-learning technologies and human moderators to combat fraudulent reviews. It's also requested other social media companies to assist, as fake review communities have grown on Facebook groups and in messaging apps like Telegram, WhatsApp, and WeChat.
Facebook has not yet responded to Amazon's lawsuit. This isn't the first time Amazon has gone after groups trading fake reviews. In April, the company filed a lawsuit against more than 1,000 people it said were offering to post fake five-star reviews on third-party sellers' products in exchange for money.
If you are interested in reading more about this, the original article was published on Time.com.
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April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
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