“Amazon employs cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) technology to combat fake reviews and detect inauthentic comments.“
Amazon has been struggling with fake review “brokers”, which pose a significant challenge to its e-commerce platform. To combat this issue, Amazon has invested in machine learning models that scrutinize thousands of data points to identify fraudulent activity. However, the UK consumer group Which? believes that these efforts are still inadequate.
Fake review brokers leverage third-party platforms such as social media and encrypted messaging services to buy, sell and host counterfeit reviews. These fabricated reviews have the potential to influence purchasing decisions made by customers, such as when choosing between different laptops or children’s toys. Consumers may rely on what they believe is legitimate feedback from other shoppers but in reality, someone was paid to write an overly positive review to boost a seller’s ratings or undermine a competitor.
Fake reviews can be challenging to detect, however, generic information or an excessive number of five-star ratings could be red flags.
According to reports from 2022, Amazon identified over 23,000 social media groups that harbored fake reviews and had amassed a following of more than 46 million members. While Amazon has been leveraging AI technology in its fight against counterfeit reviews for years now, the company believes that investing in more advanced tools will enhance the protection afforded to both customers and sellers on its platform.
Amazon’s fraud-detecting AI is capable of assessing multiple factors to determine the probability of a review being fraudulent. These factors can include an author’s relationship with other online accounts, their sign-in activity, review history and any anomalous behavioral patterns.
Dharmesh Mehta, who leads Amazon’s customer trust team, informed the BBC that “We leverage machine learning to identify dubious accounts and track connections between a reviewer’s purchasing account and the product seller.” He added that “By using a combination of meticulous vetting processes along with sophisticated machine learning and artificial intelligence systems that check various signals or behaviors, we can prevent customers from ever encountering fraudulent reviews.”
UK consumer group Which? claims that Amazon’s efforts to combat fake reviews are insufficient in solving the pervasive issue, which some estimates suggest make up one in seven online consumer reviews. Despite blocking over 200 million suspected counterfeit reviews last year, Amazon acknowledges the need for more sophisticated tools and greater cooperation between private sectors, consumer groups and governments to enhance its strategy. The UK’s Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill is expected to increase regulatory power against fake reviews while Which? calls for criminal enforcement against buying, selling and hosting fraudulent feedback. However, Facebook-based “fake review factories” persist despite ongoing investigations by regulators like the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
Amazon has initiated legal proceedings against NiceRebate.com, a counterfeit review broker that targets customers in the UK. The company also shut down other websites operated by the same individuals while pursuing parallel legal action against them in the US. Dharmesh Mehta stated that Amazon is proactively combating fake review brokers and has taken legal action against 94 such “bad actors” spanning across Europe, China and the US.
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