It’s getting harder and harder to trust customer reviews these days. Never mind the short, mindless bursts that are undeniably the product of some unintelligent bot. There are times when reviews are written by real humans whose motives are, unfortunately, questionable. This latter seems to be the case that’s no hounding Facebook after a few of its employees have been caught red-handed leaving glowing five-star reviews for the company’s newest product, the video chatting appliance Portal.
To its credit, Facebook exec Andrew “Boz” Bosworth did acknowledge that the reviews in question were indeed made by Facebook employees. He does, however, deny that this was a coordinated and directed strategy to boost Facebook Portal’s image on Amazon. In fact, he quotes an internal memo circulated at launch telling employees not to leave reviews on Amazon at all.
Maybe these employees were genuinely happy owners of Portal devices. That, however, would have been understandable if Tim Chappell, Facebook head of supply chain, not mentioned he’s not big on Facebook and still took the chance and bought four Portals. Then again, maybe it was a different Tim Chappell though Bosworth’s generic admission implicates them all.
And even if these employees were truthfully just happy about Facebook Portal, they are still guilty of violating Amazon’s rules for product reviews. Even presuming they were not aware of those rules, they should have at least wondered if it was appropriate to leave reviews of a product made by their employer. But then again, one could argue that Facebook’s moral compass is horribly broken anyway.