Google products can be very useful, even for criminals. This week, the company has filed a lawsuit against an alleged scammer who was involved in generating thousands of fake reviews on Google search.
The company accuses the alleged criminal, Ethan Hu, of abusing Google’s products and services “to create fake online listings for non-existent businesses and bolster them with fake reviews from non-existent individuals.” Once they created the fake businesses, Hu and his accomplices would sell these listings to other companies looking to advertise their products.
In its lawsuit, Google states that the defendants have created over 350 fake business profiles in the past two years, receiving up to 14,000 fake reviews. It must have been no easy task, as the defendants had to impersonate business owners in multiple instances during video calls that Google uses for business authentication.
According to Google, Hu allegedly requested $1,000 from several potential buyers for a listing of a plumbing company that had supposedly received “40 calls and 5 form submissions” from local individuals looking for a legitimate plumbing business, presumably influenced by the large number of positive reviews.
For these actions, Google demands that Hu and the other defendants compensate the company for damages and be permanently prohibited from advertising or selling fake verification services. This lawsuit comes at a time when Google is updating its search experience and testing new AI-powered features that will completely change the way we search on the internet.
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