Amazon Battling Fake Reviews With AI

15 Jun 2023

Bad reviews can negatively impact a business’ reputation. Amazon, known for being one of the biggest ecommerce websites in the world, has seen an increase in fraudulent behaviour. They are using artificial intelligence (AI) to combat this issue.

After an increase in fake reviews, Amazon have been using machine-learning models to analyse the vast data to help detect fraudulent behaviour.

The latest role to appear in the criminal network is the ‘fake review broker’. The criminals, also known as the ‘broker’, use third-party platforms which include social media and services like WhatsApp, to buy and sell on their fake reviews. The purpose behind this is to influence consumers purchasing decisions.  Consumers would presume these positive reviews are genuine, when someone could have been paid to produce these reviews to boost a product, or to potentially undermine a rival business. 

“We use machine-learning to look for suspicious accounts, to track the relationships between a purchasing account that’s leaving a review and someone selling that product,”.

Dharmesh Mehta, the head of Amazon’s customer trust team.

The result of these fake reviews can cause detrimental effects for not only businesses, but customers too. Which? reported that fake reviews made consumers more than twice as likely to choose poor-quality products. According to Amazon, they have cracked down on over 200 million suspected fake reviews in 2022.

“One in seven online consumer reviews are fake. Amazon has been trying all sorts of technology to crack down on fake reviews and by all accounts that’s having some success. But as far as we’re concerned, it’s still nowhere near enough to solve this huge problem”.

Harry, Which?

The Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill, that is currently going through parliament, is expected to increase the legal powers available to the regulator, which is currently the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Which? have supported Amazon’s need for more cooperation between the private sector, customers, and other governments to prevent this issue from happening. Which? have called for the legislation to go further by ‘Explicitly making the buying, selling and hosting of fake reviews subject to criminal enforcement’.

Without more powerful legislation being put in place by the government, and businesses using more advanced equipment, fake reviews will continue to be a major issue for a lot of companies. Business owners and potential customers need to do their research before purchasing a recommended product.