Spotting Fake Amazon Reviews And Netflix Deletes Users Reviews

On Episode 413 of The Waves of Tech, we are diving head first into technology stories changing and influencing your lives.  During a recent hacking conference in Las Vegas, several children (ages 8-17) took only a few hours to hack into voting machines and systems highlighting the well known problem of security and vulnerability in the democratic process.  Fake reviews on Amazon, TripAdvisor, and Yelp continue to grow in scale. Spotting fake reviews can be very simple, so let’s not get caught up in the mayhem. Netflix had hinted at deleting all user reviews a few months ago and they lived up to their word.  All reviews are gone and we share why.

When Children Can Hack into Voting Systems

A major talking point in American politics is the incredible vulnerabilities of the voting system and voting machines.  The US Congress denied injecting $380 million into the problem, leaving the democratic process weak. During DefCon in Las Vegas, a children’s hackathon was planned with the idea of learning soldering, lockpicking, and breaking into voting systems.

  • Out of 39 kids between 8-17, 35 of them succeeded in bypassing the security
  • This was done with very little instruction and minimal direction from experts
  • The hackathon highlights the gross security missteps in or voting process
  • If children can succeed, we wonder how influential true hackers can become

Spotting Fake Amazon Reviews

Fake this, fake that.  It’s all the rage of late.  But we all know that fake reviews on e-commerce, travel, and food marketplaces is a major issue.  Recently, Amazon has come under attack for not doing enough to crackdown on the problem. Amazon reports only 1% of reviews are fake, whereas other agencies report around 30 percent and as high as 90 percent overall.

  • FakeSpot uses algorithms to help you weed out fake reviews on Amazon, Yelp, etc
  • Check the reviewer’s profile for unusual activity and multiple reviews on one day
  • Look out for bot armies that post the same comment with minor alterations
  • Or perhaps give up reading reviews, ask your friends, seek recommendations

Your User Reviews on Netflix are Gone

Continuing with reviews, Netflix made a bold move and completely removed all user reviews this week.  Poof! With the flip of a switch, all reviews were deleted. There are plenty of theories floating around as to why – Netflix didn’t want poor reviews of original programming, reviews had no bearing on recommendations, users tried to sabotage films with poor reviews.

  • Successful programming results from word of mouth, not user reviews
  • How often do you and others actually read and use the reviews listed
  • Choosing content is so personal that user reviews may have only a small influence
  • Let’s see if other sites do away with user reviews, star ratings, and comments

Resources & Links

Hacking Elections, It’s Child’s Play

Not Only Fakes News but Fake Amazon Reviews

Netflix Deletes all User Reviews

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