Italy: Amazon takes action against fake reviews
For some time now, Amazon has been taking stronger action against fake reviews, which are a major problem on the platform and call the credibility of the entire review system into question. Now, for the first time, the company is taking criminal action in the EU. Affected is a company from Italy, which organized fake reviews.
5 stars against refund
An Italian company allegedly set up a network of volunteers who rated products on Amazon with five stars. In return, they received the products for free. Nevertheless, in order to be able to write a verified review, they first had to buy the product regularly via Amazon and received a refund from the service provider afterwards. Amazon is pursuing the criminal prosecution of review brokering to exclude a total of around 11,000 users from its platform. Under Italian law, those affected face fines or even prison sentences of up to three years.
Amazon has already taken civil action against review fraud in other EU countries. For example, civil proceedings are currently underway in Spain in which Amazon is taking action against an agency that also brokered fake reviews. According to Amazon, those involved in Spain organized themselves primarily via telegram channels. This information from Amazon suggests that the U.S. company has indeed conducted more in-depth investigations – which reinforces that the elimination of review fraud is an important concern for the company.
In Germany, too, Amazon has already taken civil action against companies that have mediated fake reviews. According to Amazon, the civil action has resulted in more than ten companies discontinuing their offerings – at least in relation to Amazon.
Wave of lawsuits in the US
In the U.S., Amazon already launched a wave of lawsuits last year against companies as well as individuals who had engaged in brokering fake reviews. In the course of this, criminal as well as civil action was taken against three companies as well as the operators of around 10,000 Facebook groups in which reviews were brokered. The primary aim is to identify the central figures involved in the mediation of reviews in order to be able to take targeted action against them. In addition, Amazon aims to exclude all persons involved in review fraud from its platform.
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