Leaving fake reviews for products is a practice as old as the internet, yet companies keep doing it and they keep getting caught red-handed. The latest company caught posting fake reviews for one of its products is Facebook, who couldn’t help leave glowing five-star reviews for its new Portal smart display.
First noticed by tech columnist Kevin Roose, he managed to track down some five-star reviews for the Portal on Amazon back to Facebook employees. Ironically, the perpetrators didn’t even try to hide their identity.
Speaking of coordinated inauthentic behavior, what are the odds that all these 5-star Facebook Portal reviewers on Amazon just happen to have the same names as Facebook employees? pic.twitter.com/bF7U8Fj5kN
— Kevin Roose (@kevinroose) January 17, 2019
The reviews left on Amazon rave about the Portal, highlighting its video call feature. “The screen video quality and camera tracking are great and do make it feel like we are together,” said Tim Chappell, who is Head of Supply Chain and Strategic Sourcing at Facebook, according to his Facebook page. Meanwhile, Oren Hafif, a security engineer at Facebook, says “the camera tracking is AMAZING.”
Once the news started to gain traction, Facebook exec Andrew Bosworth responded saying that the employees were never directed by the company to leave the reviews. Even if you believe him, Amazon’s stance on leaving reviews for the company you work for is pretty clear: you are not allowed to do so.
Amazon says in its rules it prohibits: “Creating, modifying, or posting content regarding your (or your relative’s, close friend’s, business associate’s, or employer’s) products or services.”
Regardless of how you view the situation, this is something that is not allowed by Amazon. Beyond that, it continues to highlight some of the unsavory business practices Facebook has been embarking on. Consumer trust in the company is already low enough as it is, and this won’t do it any favors.