Amazon Harnesses AI to Combat Fake Reviews, But Critics Say More is Needed

Amazon has announced its use of cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) technology in the ongoing battle against fake reviews. The company has long been plagued by fake review “brokers,” posing a significant challenge for its online shopping platform.

To tackle this issue, Amazon has made substantial investments in machine learning models that analyse thousands of data points, aiding in the detection of fraudulent behaviour.

Fake Reviewers Present a Significant Challenge

Fake review brokers utilise third-party platforms, including social media and encrypted messaging services, to buy, sell, and host fake reviews. These misleading reviews can heavily influence consumers’ purchasing decisions, leading them to choose subpar products based on fabricated feedback.

Identifying fake reviews can be challenging, although generic information or an unusually high percentage of five-star ratings can raise suspicions.

Amazon’s AI Approach

Amazon has employed AI technology in its fight against fake reviews for several years, with the company’s latest investment focusing on developing more sophisticated tools.

By utilising machine learning algorithms, Amazon’s fraud-detecting AI considers various factors to calculate the probability of a review being fake.

These factors include the reviewer’s relationship with other online accounts, sign-in activity, review history, and any unusual behaviour. Dharmesh Mehta, head of Amazon’s customer trust team, emphasised the importance of combining meticulous vetting with advanced AI and machine learning capabilities to prevent customers from encountering fake reviews.

Insufficient Progress According to Consumer Group Which?

Despite Amazon’s efforts, consumer group Which? claims that the current action taken against fake reviews remains “nowhere near enough.” Estimates suggest that approximately one in seven online consumer reviews in the UK are fake, making it a significant concern for shoppers.

The group argues that fake reviews disproportionately influence customers to choose low-quality products. While Amazon reported blocking over 200 million suspected fake reviews in the past year, it acknowledges the need for stronger collaboration between the private sector, consumer groups, and governments to enhance its anti-fake review strategy.


Call for Collaborative Efforts and Regulatory Support

Amazon is urging greater cooperation between multiple stakeholders to combat fake reviews effectively. The company acknowledges the role of governments, consumer groups, and the private sector in addressing this pervasive issue.

In the UK, the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill is currently under review, expected to provide additional legal powers to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). Consumer group Which? welcomes Amazon’s appeal for collaboration but advocates for the legislation to go further by explicitly criminalising the buying, selling, and hosting of fake reviews.

Legal Actions and Ongoing Investigations

Amazon has taken legal action against operators involved in facilitating fake reviews. One recent example includes the legal battle against the operators of, a fake review broker targeting British customers. Similar websites operated by the same individuals were also shut down, with simultaneous legal actions initiated in the United States. Amazon has pursued legal action against 94 such “bad actors” globally, including individuals from the US, China, and Europe.

While Amazon’s use of AI technology represents a significant step in the fight against fake reviews, critics argue that more comprehensive measures are required to address this pervasive problem. The detrimental impact of misleading reviews on consumer choices underscores the urgency to develop stronger collaborations between key stakeholders, strengthen regulatory enforcement, and further enhance AI capabilities. As the battle against fake reviews continues, Amazon and other online platforms must remain vigilant and committed to upholding consumer trust and ensuring the integrity of online product reviews.