Amazon removes thousands of product reviews following newspaper probe

Amazon boxes
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Amazon has removed around 20,000 product reviews in the wake of an investigation which found seven of its leading reviewers in the UK were allegedly profiting from thousands of glowing five-star reviews after posting them on the ecommerce giant.

The probe by the Financial Times cited several examples of suspicious reviewing behaviour, with many of the high ratings being given to low-key Chinese brands. The FT uncovered evidence that some reviewers were being sent products for free. The items would then be given a highly-rated review and, in some cases, the users sample product would then be sold on eBay.

Numerous reviewers were suspected of carrying out the practice of posting 5-star reviews on Amazon, with several deleting their history following the investigation by the FT. Its analysis of the situation found that nine out the current top 10 reviewers ratings were suspicious in their nature.

Suspicious reviews

Following the FT’s publication of its findings Amazon removed all reviews on its site that had been written by seven users identified in the investigation. 

This isn’t the first time the legitimacy of product reviews have come into question. The UK’s competition watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority carried out a similar review in May following reports of suspicious reviews appearing online.

Consumer demand for online shopping has been growing due to the coronavirus pandemic and the suspicious reviews have been following suit. Fakespot, the online review analysis group has previously suggested 58% of reviews on the Amazon UK e-commerce outlet are potentially fake.

Amazon has stated that it takes a number of measures to combat fake reviews including using AI to pick out dubious activity as well as closely monitoring its enormous database of users. It told the FT that it plans to investigate the findings.  

Rob Clymo

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.