Amazon is committed to being the most customer-centric company on Earth, offering a wide range of products, low prices, and quick delivery. By providing products that exceed their expectations, we strive to achieve that vision. Customer reviews play an important role in the shopping experience. They help customers make informed purchasing decisions and provide a way to distinguish selling partners’ products from similar items. More than 300 million customers are active and we have over 1.9million selling partners around the world. Most of these selling partners are small and medium-sized businesses, which make up the majority of physical products sold at our stores. Amazon is committed to allowing only authentic product reviews in its store, on behalf of both our customers and our selling partners.

Some people didn’t get why Amazon would display customer reviews alongside product listings. Our answer was easy: we were focused on delighting customers for the long term. This meant providing honest product reviews that would help customers make informed purchases and get products that meet their expectations. It is important that customer reviews accurately reflect their experience with the product.

We invest significant resources in preventing customers from seeing fake or incentivized comments in our stores. This helps us earn their trust. We have been able to continuously improve, invent, deploy and improve machine learning technology over many years. This is paired with human investigators to prevent fake reviews from ever appearing in our store. We know that we are not perfect and offer customers and selling partners the opportunity to report any fake reviews we have missed. We stopped over 200 million fake reviews in 2020 before customers saw them. More than 99% of reviews enforcement was due to our proactive detection. We take steps to stop these fake reviews. We also shut down review submissions from accounts that are contributing fake reviews. And we enforce bad actors’ selling accounts who attempt to profit artificially from this abuse.

We are determined to protect our store and will take steps to stop any fake OveReview, regardless of their size or whereabouts. We don’t take enforcement lightly, and we have a high standard for identifying fake reviews. We recognize that most of our sellers are hardworking and have many employees. We work hard to ensure that enforcement actions don’t adversely affect honest sellers and that we stop anyone trying to take their customers or business away. We are committed to ensuring that customers shop in our store with confidence. This also ensures that all sellers have the chance to grow their businesses amid fair and healthy competition. These capabilities are constantly improved to protect our customers and sell partners from abuse and improve our proactive detection.

We have noticed an increase in bad actors trying to solicit fake Amazon reviews via social media. This is due to our continuous improvements in detecting fake reviews and connections between bad actors buying and selling accounts. Others use social media services themselves, while others hire third-party service providers to do the same thing on their behalf. Bad actors often try to steal this transaction from Amazon in order to hide our ability to detect their activity. We use advanced machine learning and a variety of other techniques to identify connected entities, such as customer accounts, selling accounts, products, and brands. It’s clear, however, that this is an industry-wide challenge and that we must work together to make quicker progress.

We regularly report fake reviews to social media companies when we find them. We reported over 300 groups to social media companies in the first three months of 2020. It took them a median of 45 days to close down these groups. We reported over 1,000 of these groups to social media companies in the first three months of 2021. It took them five days to remove them. We appreciate the speed with which some social media companies respond, but it is crucial that social media companies invest in proactive controls to detect fake reviews and enforce them before we report the problem to them. To protect consumers, we will need to all work together to share our knowledge and partner with one another to stop fraud and fake reviews from affecting consumers.

It is important that bad actors and service providers who provide fake reviews are held accountable for their actions. This has been a major industry problem. We have brought lawsuits against people who purchased reviews, as well as the service providers who provided them. We will continue to pursue those bad actors through the courts. We need the help of all consumer protection regulators. Fake reviews can mislead customers, encourage an underground economy, and create unfair competition for honest sellers.

Amazon will improve our proactive controls, streamline industry participants’ processes and tools, and hold bad actors responsible for abusing reviews. Social media companies that are being used for fake reviews must partner with us in order to stop fraud and fake review control. To fully protect consumers as well as our honest selling partners, it will require constant innovation and partnership with law enforcement across all industries.

Anita Wagner

She loves history and has a PhD in History and Antopology. Loves to dig up a past.

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