CHINESE PHONE MAKER Huawei has been accused of buying fake reviews for its flagship Mate 10 smartphone.
According to 9to5Google, the company has been asking users of a private Facebook group to write favourable Best Buy reviews in order to get their hands on the handset.
Currently, the handset is only available to pre-order, but it is thought that the firm is using this dodgy tactic in a bid to drive up interest and sales.
So far, more than 100 people have posted reviews of the phone on Best Buy, despite the fact that it has not even entered the market yet. Most of them are 5-star reviews.
People have written things like "great new flagship phone" and "unbeatable smartphone of the year". One person even said it "puts Samsung to shame".
The reviews have been posted to the Best Buy listing page, and they can easily mislead consumers into thinking that the handset is a hit among fans.
Huawei runs a private Facebook channel where it regularly posts promotions and information about its latest handsets. It has amassed 60,000 members to date.
In this particular instance, the company asked users to write reviews describing "why they WANT to own the Mate 10 Pro" and to post them on Best Buy's review page.
The dodgy thing is that 105 of the 108 reviews suddenly appeared when Huawei opened its beta testing competition, which originally ran on 31 January.
It's worth pointing out, however, that were a few disappointing reviews and spam content posted on the reviews section before the competition was opened.
Huawei also replied to a few of the more positive reviews. One of them said: "This phone is best! I have a iPhone X, but I will switch to Huawei m10."
"Thank you for your nice comments on the marvellous Mate 10 Pro". But it is unlikely that the user actually got their hands on the phone," Huawei responded.
Although Huawei clearly sees this as an effective marketing tactic, posting and encouraging fake reviews on the Best Buy website is against the American retailer's guidelines.
"We reserve the right not to post your review if it contains any of the following types of content or violates other guidelines," the retailer writes.
Best Buy explained that it actively removes malicious advertisements, spam content and references to external websites, promotions and products. µ
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