In its ongoing fight to stamp out fake product reviews and earn customers’ trust, Amazon is calling upon social media companies and consumer protection regulators to do more to protect unwitting buyers and well-intentioned sellers from a growing spate of fraudulent activity.
The call for external help was made in an unsigned Wednesday (June 16) company blog post, in which Amazon addressed the many problems surrounding its popular and highly impactful product review system, which allows users to leave comments and rate their experiences by leaving one to five stars.
In acknowledging the importance of product reviews and the role they play in influencing the decisions of its 300 million active customers — and in turn the fortunes of its 1.9 million sellers — Amazon said it continues to invest and innovate to allow only genuine product reviews in its store.
While the online giant said it had stopped more than 200 million fake reviews before they were ever seen by customers, and that 99 percent of review enforcement was driven by its own proactive detection, it needs help from outside the company’s walls to finish the job.
“While we appreciate that some social media companies have become much faster at responding,” Amazon said, “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 did say the response time had markedly improved but stressed the need to still do more. For example, in the first quarter of 2020, Amazon said it reported more than 300 groups associated with fake reviews to unnamed social media companies that took an average of 45 days to shut them down. But in Q1 of 2021, Amazon said that lag time had shortened to just five days, noting that its collaborative approach was working.
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