Facebook Portal was an attempt by the world's largest social network to find a place into your home and play an integral role in communication with friends. But in order to achieve that goal, it turns out Facebook employees have been trying to boost the device with fake reviews on Amazon.
Tech columnist Kevin Roose on Thursday published a tweet that seemed to show fake Amazon reviews posted by Facebook employees on the Facebook Portal listing on the e-commerce site. The reviews all come with five-star ratings and the people attached to them just so happen to have the same exact name of Facebook employees.
There are about 100 five-star reviews on Amazon's Facebook Portal listing, and at least three of them are from people with the exact same names as Facebook employees: Tim Chappel, Javier Cubria, and Oren Hafif.
Over at Facebook, a person named Tim Chappel is the head of supply chain and strategic sourcing of AR/VR products. A person named Javier Cubria is a Facebook event marketer and Oren Hafif is a security engineering manager at Facebook.
Interestingly, Amazon lists the reviews as "verified purchases," which means each of the three people suspected to be Facebook employees actually purchased the Portal on Amazon.
Facebook executive Andrew Bosworth tweeted after the reviews were discovered that the reviews posted to the site were "neither coordinated nor directed from the company." He added that Facebook would ask the employees to take down the reviews. They've since been removed from Amazon.
In total, there are 160 reviews of the Facebook Portal on Amazon. We put the reviews through Fakespot's search engine, which analyzes whether user reviews can be trusted. The listing received a Fakespot score of D and found that the reviewer pattern suggests there's "high deception involved" in the reviews. Just 54 percent of the reviews are deemed "reliable."
We reviewed the Facebook Portal last year and gave it a score of 2.5 out of 5, or a "Meh" rating. At least for now, we don't recommend it.
- See the 15 most exciting Alexa devices coming this year.