Meta Takes Legal Action Against Fraudulent Review Sellers On Facebook
Meta has filed a new lawsuit in California over the use of phony Facebook reviews, claiming that a specific fake review seller attempted to manipulate its systems to benefit its clients. According to the new lawsuit, Chad Taylor Cowan, who operated under the name 'Customer Feedback Score Solutions,' furnished businesses with bogus evaluations and feedback to artificially increase their Facebook Customer Feedback Score.
According to Meta:
“Meta analyzes feedback on an ongoing basis to understand people’s experiences on our technologies. As a part of this work, some people receive surveys after clicking on ads to help understand whether the quality of the product they purchased met their expectations, the shipping was timely, and to learn more about their customer service experience. This survey data, along with other information, informs a business’ Customer Feedback Score.”
Businesses that receive a large quantity of negative feedback may be subject to enforcement measures such as ad limits, cash penalties, or account suspension. Customer Feedback Solutions wanted to use this technique to its advantage.
“Cowan used a network of fraudulent and hired Facebook user accounts to provide fake customer reviews to artificially increase Customer Feedback Scores, drown out and minimize negative reviews, and avoid our enforcement. These actions create poor experiences for people who see these ads, deceptively influencing and misleading our community. This is also a direct violation of Meta’s Terms, Advertising and Page Policies, as well as California law.”
It's the first time Meta has particularly targeted fraudulent review sellers, despite progressively increasing its broader legal enforcement operations in recent years. In a similar vein, Meta has filed several cases against companies selling Likes and follows, but reviews haven't been a major emphasis – although Amazon did take legal action against two companies earlier this year for allegedly acting as fake-review brokers on its site.
As Meta looks to introduce more eCommerce and brand recommendation tools into its apps, it makes sense for it to take action now to address this element. The Amazon cases may have opened the door for more enforcement action on this front, and as Meta looks to introduce more eCommerce and brand recommendation tools into its apps, it makes sense for it to take action now to address this element.
Although the lawsuit is expected to take some time, it will be interesting to observe what legal rulings result from these new efforts against persons who offer fraudulent online reviews.