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Amazon Wants Social Media Platforms to Help Fight Fake Reviews

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Amazon has told social networks to take greater responsibility for fake reviews facilitated on their platforms, saying the problem is increasingly outside of its control.

According to a new report from The Guardian, the online shopping site pointed the blame towards social media firms for not investing enough in fraud controls and reacting too slowly to remove posts.

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Since the beginning of the pandemic, Amazon says it has added 50 million Prime members and made profits of over $26 billion USD, more than the previous three years combined. As Amazon purchases increased, so did review manipulation.

Sellers are taking advantage of the online shopping frenzy, using new methods to bolster ratings on products ranging from cordless vacuums to toilet-paper holders. For shoppers, this can mean diminished overall trust and frustration, as they try to pick a winner from a crowded field of low-quality, no-name “five star” items, mostly from China.

The company says it removed more than 200 million suspected fake reviews before customers saw them in 2020 alone, but has nonetheless faces continued criticism for the massive scale of fake and misleading reviews that hit its store.

“In the first three months of 2020, we reported more than 300 groups to social media companies, who then took a median time of 45 days to shut down those groups from using their service to perpetrate abuse,” an Amazon blog post said.

“In the first three months of 2021 we reported more than 1,000 such groups, with social media services taking a median time of five days to take them down.”

“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 notes that it also holds bad actors and the service providers that provide the reviews accountable. It has previously launched lawsuits against those who purchased reviews and the service providers, including this case from 2015. However, the company says it needs coordinated assistance from consumer protection regulators around the world.

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