A new report claims that Facebook has failed to combat fake reviews by hundreds of thousand of users.
Consumer group Which says the groups are offering refunds for Amazon products in exchange for five-star reviews, against Amazon’s terms and conditions.
It discovered 18 Facebook groups that had more than 200,000 people, many dating back to 2011 and 2014. This is despite Facebook’s repeatedly repeated promises to the UK Competition and Markets Authority(CMA) of reprimanding this activity.
Researchers were given hundreds of Amazon products for free within minutes of signing up to the Facebook groups. These items included webcams and dog beds. In return, they received five-star reviews.
Which states that Facebook has to show that it is effective in taking action after making repeated commitments that it would clamp down on fake reviews trading. Director of Policy and Advocacy Rocio CONCHA.
Which? also conducted an investigation into the matter last October. Last October, Which? found out that Twitter was also full of fake reviews. Searching for phrases such as ‘Amazon freebies,’ ‘Amazon free product seller for good reviews’ and ‘free Amazon products for review’, it found dozens of review agents, who sent the researchers 53,065 listings and 132 brands.
While most profiles stated they were based out of China, others claimed to have been based in India, Pakistan, and the US. The profiles were seeking reviewers from countries such as Australia, Canada and Germany.
Three profiles had their Twitter accounts suspended for not following the rules of Which? While three profiles were suspended from Twitter for violating its rules before Which?
Concha states that Facebook and Twitter fail to properly address fake reviews factories. This makes it easier for untrustworthy firms and false review agents to bypass weak checks from some of the largest online shopping platforms.
“This could severely undermine the consumer’s trust in online reviews.”
Facebook had to take down 188 Facebook groups last January under pressure from CMA and to do more to eradicate fake reviews. It also removed 16,000 additional groups in April.
Amazon stated last summer that they were having trouble dealing with fake reviews factories. It claimed that the average time it took to close down social media sites was 45 days. It now claims that this number is down to just five days.