Facebook employees have seemingly been caught red-handed writing five-star product reviews for the controversial Facebook Portal smart display range.
After checking out the glowing reviews on the Amazon product page, New York Times tech columnist Kevin Roose noticed many of these besotted users had the same names as Facebook employees.
Either it’s the world’s biggest coincidence that Javier Cubria, Tim Chappell and Oren Hafif have namesakes who work at Facebook, or there’s some funny business going on here. Chappell hilariously claimed he has “historically not been a big Facebook or other social media user.”
Roose pointed out that reviewing one’s employer’s products isn’t permitted under Amazon’s rules, while musing on whether this was a sign the product wasn’t selling particularly well.
In a response to the tweet, Facebook big wig Andrew “Boz” Bosworth did not deny the reviews were written by Facebook employees, but claimed the practice was neither co-ordinated, nor directed by the company.
He showed a line from an internal memo specifically asking staff not to review the product on Amazon: “We, unequivocally, DO NOT want Facebook employees to engage in leaving reviews for the products that we sell to Amazon,” he wrote.
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Amazon’s review guidelines make clear that “creating, modifying, or posting content regarding your (or your relative’s, close friend’s, business associate’s, or employer’s) products or services,” is forbidden. There’s no doubt the Facebook Portal reviews in question fall under this description.
The Facebook Portal cameras are already causing controversy, partly due to the loss in trust of Facebook over the last year. The smart display has a webcam that is capable of following its subject around the room, but that feature might be a bridge too far for some folks turned off by the company’s recent disregard for user privacy.
Would you trust Facebook with a camera that can follow you around your home, when even Mark Zuckerberg tapes over his webcam? Let us know @TrustedReviews on Twitter.