Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course

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The validity of fake reviews

Through my constant clicking on different webpages with links leading to other links, I found a topic to discuss the validity of. Amazon sues over 1000 unidentifiable people who provided fake reviews for products on their website. Through their complaint that they sent to court, they say that the reviews “threaten to undermine the trust that customers, and the vast majority of sellers and manufactures, place in Amazon, thereby tarnishing Amazon’s brand. Amazon is bringing this action to protect its customers from this misconduct, by stopping defendants and uprooting the ecosystem in which they participate.”

Premise 1: Online sales, like Amazon, rely on trust (can’t see, touch, test the products)

Premise 2: Companies use fake reviews to boost sales (oversell)

Premise 3: Fake reviews create unrealistic customer expectations

Conclusion: Therefore, fake reviews undermine consumers trust in Amazon and online sales.

 

By looking at the premises, we can determine that:

Premise 1 is considered true since all shoppers are unable to test the products to see if they work or not. They would have to believe that the sellers would provide good products. Furthermore, the only way online sales work (currently) is for potential buyers to just look at pictures of the product, not really knowing if the product is what they think it is supposed to be or how they think it is supposed to work.

Premise 2 can be considered true as some companies may use these means to boost their sales. However, there aren’t a lot of people who do this, as mentioned by Amazon’s investigation, only a small minority of all the sellers. It is difficult to determine if it is really could be considered true or not as a survey would need to be conducted. Even if a survey were to be conducted, companies/producers/sellers may not want to provide information regarding this. Even if they do provide an answer, it is hard to determine if they are telling the truth or not.

Premise 3 can also be considered true since upon our own realization of the fake statements implemented on the product, we come to distrust and doubt them. I would consider this true because if I was told that the charger’s bright light helped distinguish if the device was charged or not, but when I receive the product it doesn’t work at all, I would not buy anything else from the same seller(this is an example of one of the products that have had false consumer comments).

The factually correctness of this argument can be determined if the second premise is determined to be true or not. The argument would be factually correct if the second premise is stated including the word ‘some’ so that it would become: “Some companies use fake reviews to boost sales.” This argument is valid as the conclusion follows from its premises, however it is not sound. Even though the argument is valid, as we cannot confirm if all the premises are true or not.

Choosing to buy online has the risks of not knowing if the product is what they seller defines it as, so people often resort to the comments to find other people’s experience with it. With the argument being phrased this way, it may seem that all online sellers pay people to write good comments about their product. But, as mentioned before, this is not the case as only a minority use false comments in trying to promote their product(despite it being forbidden on Amazon). If you were to buy a product online, what would be a good way to know if it really is what it says it’s supposed to be? It may be difficult to make a judgment of an object based off of the comments, but with Amazon suing, the comment section may become repleted of the false ones.

 

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