02 August 2019
It has been about a couple of months since Facebook launched Portal and Portal+ smart display devices but the user response for both has not been all good so far. This mixed response has a lot to do with various instances of Facebook running into issues regarding user privacies. But on the Amazon listing for Portal, there are different glorifying five-star rated reviews referring to the device as a highly recommended one.
These reviews caught the attention of New York Times tech columnist Kevin Roose who decided to dig in a little. In the process, he discovered that a few of those Amazon users with five-starred Portal reviews have names exactly the same as different Facebook employees. This suggests that its Facebook employees who are trying to boost sales by creating a positive impression of Portal devices.
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
It should be noted that it is against Amazon rules to review the products of one's employers. It means no matter if an employee actually bought the product from Amazon and is happy about the purchase, he is not allowed to post a review on the same. As per the official rule, "Creating, modifying, or posting content regarding your (or your relative's, close friend's, business associate's, or employee's) products or services" is not allowed.
In response to Roose's claim, Facebook AR/VR executive Andrew Bosworth tweeted that such behavior was neither coordinated nor directed by the company. He assured that they will be getting in touch with the employees to ask them to take down all those Portal reviews.
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