Earlier today, New York Times tech reporter Kevin Roose took to Twitter with a funny story. It looked like Facebook employees were writing positive reviews for Facebook’s video chat device Portal on Amazon.
Reviewing your employer's products is definitely against Amazon's rules. It's also not exactly an indicator of confidence in how well they're selling organically! pic.twitter.com/vcXzderCXZ
— Kevin Roose (@kevinroose) January 17, 2019
BuzzFeed News reporter Ryan Mac chimed in after catching the fact that one of the reviewers listed their name as “Tim Chappell,” who is on LinkedIn as Facebook’s “Head Of Supply-Chain & Strategic Sourcing AR/VR Products.”
It sounded like an elaborate prank by some bored person on the internet who had decided it would be good for laffs to write Portal reviews in the names of Facebook employees. After all, why would the Facebook employees write the reviews in their own names? If someone caught on to the scheme, what would that say about Portal as a product? Plus, as Roose pointed out, reviewing your own product violates Amazon’s rules. It had to be a joke, right? Nope!
Facebook executive Andrew “Boz” Bosworth replied to Roose, not denying it was true, but denying that it was a concerted effort issued from on high at FB HQ. He also quoted an internal post from the Portal launch that said the company “unequivocally” did not “want Facebook employees to engage in leaving reviews for the products that we sell to Amazon.” He said the reviews would be taken down.
Now it’s up to a prankster to put them back up.
neither coordinated nor directed from the company. From an internal post at the launch: “We, unequivocally, DO NOT want Facebook employees to engage in leaving reviews for the products that we sell to Amazon.” We will ask them to take down.
— Boz (@boztank) January 17, 2019