Baltimore Sun

Thousands of Facebook groups sued by Amazon

- By Haleluya Hadero

Amazon has filed a lawsuit against administra­tors of more than 10,000 Facebook groups it accuses of coordinati­ng fake reviews in exchange for money or free products.

The Seattle-based e-commerce giant said in a statement posted on its website Tuesday the Facebook groups were set up to recruit people “willing to post incentiviz­ed and misleading reviews” across its stores in the U.S. the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Japan.

In the statement, Amazon said one of the Facebook groups it’s targeting, called “Amazon Product Review,” had more than 43,000 members. The company said Facebook removed the group this year, but it was able to dodge the platform’s detection by “changing letters in phrases that might set off Facebook’s alarms.”

Amazon noted since 2020, it has reported more than 10,000 fake review groups to Meta, the parent company of Facebook. Meta has removed half of these groups and is investigat­ing the others, Amazon said.

The retailer’s announceme­nt comes as another side of the company’s operations is facing more scrutiny.

On Tuesday, federal labor officials confirmed that the Occupation­al Safety and Health Administra­tion has opened inspection­s at Amazon facilities in New York, Illinois and Florida after receiving referrals alleging safety and health violations from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

A spokespers­on for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York said federal labor officials entered the Amazon warehouses on Monday after their office made referrals about “potential workplace hazards,” including the required pace of work for employees.

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