Home / News / Internet News / Amazon accused of spying on reviewers’ social media profiles

Amazon accused of spying on reviewers’ social media profiles


amazon spying
Amazon HQ or hive of villainy? You decide...

Amazon knows product reviews can have a big influence on customer purchases, so it goes to great lengths to ensure the process is as legitimate as possible.

However, the online retail giant is now facing serious allegations that it is spying on the social media profiles of reviewers and product creators.

According to blogger Imy Santiago, a book review she wrote was censored by Amazon because she followed the author on social media.

That raises the question: how could Amazon possibly know that to be true, unless it has been surreptitiously data-mining social media services for links between authors and reviewers?

Here’s how it all went down – Santiago first tried to post the review several times, but was told it violated Amazon’s policy.

Amazon’s initial response read: “Your review could not be posted to the website in its current form.”

The second response was similar, but the third stated: “We cannot post your Customer Review for (book title deleted) by (author name deleted) to the Amazon website because your account activity indicates that you know the author.”

It continued: “Customer Reviews are meant to give customers unbiased product feedback from fellow shoppers...we encourage family and friends to share their enthusiasm for the book through our Customer Discussions feature or Editorial Reviews feature.”

Santiago replied to Amazon claiming she doesn’t know the author personally, although she does follow them on social media.

Knowing an author online, and personally knowing an author in real life are two different things,” reads Santiago’s appeal.

She added: “By your definition it would mean that bloggers such as myself are being barred from reviewing books they legitimately purchased.”

Unfortunately, Amazon’s next reply was largely unhelpful: “We removed your Customer Reviews because you know the author personally. Due to the proprietary nature of our business, we do not provide detailed information on how we determine that accounts are related.”

imy santiagoAmazon response (Image credit: Imy Santiago)

Related: 11 amazing things you probably didn't know about Amazon

The most obvious conclusion is that Amazon crawls social media services like Facebook and Twitter to establish links between product creators and reviewers to make sure there’s no funny business going on.

However, Amazon has not publicly revealed any such practices and has made no official comment on this story so far.

If Amazon is crawling our social media, then this case potentially highlights a serious pitfall in the process.

We’ve contacted Amazon and we’ll update this article with any response.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Ilya Geller

July 24, 2015, 12:35 pm

Amazon technology is SQL.
SQL, Structured Query Language obtains patterns from queries and statistics on how often they are used; neither the queries, nor patterns, nor statistics have anything in common with data itself, they are EXTERNAL.
I, however, discovered and patented how to structure any data without SQL, the queries - INTERNALLY: Language has its own INTERNAL parsing, indexing and statistics and can be structured INTERNALLY. (For more details please browse on my name ‘Ilya Geller’.)
My method obtains all patterns and statistics from data INTERNALLY. For instance, there are two sentences:
a) 'Sam!’
b) 'A loud ringing of one of the bells was followed by the appearance of a smart chambermaid in the upper sleeping gallery, who, after tapping at one of the doors, and receiving a request from within, called over the balustrades -'Sam!'.'
Evidently, that the 'Sam' has different importance into both sentences, in regard to extra information in both. This distinction is reflected as the phrases, which contain 'Sam', weights: the first has 1, the second – 0.08, the greater weight signifies stronger emotional ‘acuteness’; where the weight refers to the frequency that a phrase occurs in relation to other phrases.

SQL needs as much EXTERNAL descriptions of the data as possible: a picture cannot grasp essence no matter what - Amazon always wants more! My technology does not describe, it structures the essence,

SQL cannot produce the above statistics and all my other novelties –SQL is obsolete and out of business.
Being structured, for instance, advertisements search for passive, invisible on Internet people themselves, which guarantees the people 105% privacy and absolutely unprecedented precision of targeting.
Who wants to pay Amazon if one’s advertisement can find the right people itself?


July 27, 2015, 5:08 pm

Kudos to Amazon for researching links between reviewers and what they review. Best if the only linkage is that they bought the product, just like the next Joe Blogs.

comments powered by Disqus