- Facebook seems to have confirmed that employees left five-star reviews for its new Portal video-chat device on Amazon.
- The reviews were first spotted by the New York Times tech journalist Kevin Roose.
- The Facebook executive Andrew “Boz” Bosworth said in a tweet that Facebook had not asked employees to leave good reviews and that it would ask the employees to remove them.
Facebook employees have been caught leaving glowing reviews on Amazon for Facebook’s new video-chat device.
Facebook released the Portal, a video-chat and smart-speaker device, in October. It’s the first hardware product built and sold under the Facebook brand.
The new gadget has already faced some hardship after Facebook acknowledged that it could collect data about its owners to help Facebook target ads at people.
Now it seems Facebook employees have been trying to artificially inflate the device’s ratings on Amazon.
The New York Times tech columnist Kevin Roose was the first to spot that stellar reviews were being left by people with the same names as Facebook employees.
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
As Roose also pointed out, this would be in contravention of Amazon’s terms and conditions for sellers.
Roose’s suspicions were later confirmed by a Facebook executive. Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, who heads up Facebook’s augmented-reality and virtual-reality divisions, said employees had not been instructed to leave good reviews.
“We will ask them to take them down,” he added.
neither coordinated nor directed from the company. From an internal post at the launch: “We, unequivocally, DO NOT want Facebook employees to engage in leaving reviews for the products that we sell to Amazon.” We will ask them to take down.
— Boz (@boztank) January 17, 2019
Facebook declined to comment further to Business Insider. Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.