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This story on Fast Company is amazing.
A few choice quotes:
Without question, Amazon is one of the greatest single promoters of anti-vaccine disinformation, and the world leader in pushing fake anti-vaccine and COVID-19 conspiracy books,” says Peter Hotez, a pediatrician and vaccine expert at the Baylor College of Medicine.
The Seattle giant is known for a relatively minimalist approach to policing content. The goal, founder Jeff Bezos said in 1998, was “to make every book available—the good, the bad and the ugly.” Customer reviews would “let truth loose.”
Except that really turned out to not be the case, eh. Thanks sites like Fakespot for helping us sort through all that “truth” in the Amazon reviews.
A series of recent studies and a review by Fast Company show the bookstore is boosting misinformation around health-related terms like “autism” or “covid,” and nudging customers toward a universe of other conspiracy theory books.
Here’s my thinking on this - freedeom of speech is important and people should be allowed by the government to write whatever book they want, talk about whatever topics they want, etc… But there are limits. We all know we can’t yell “fire” in a movie theater - it’s not safe and people will be hurt. I see these anti-vaccine books in the same way - they are harmful and could be deadly for the people who read them. I don’t want to support a business that is so open as to allow this kind of inherently, directly, immediately dangerous writing to be pushed towards people who are not educated well enough to see how completely false they are. With nearly 600,000 Americans dead now from the COVID-19 pandemic, we need real facts (not these fake, sleazy books) to be at the top of the best sellers list and Amazon is actively working against that.
I won’t support this behemoth until they start acting like a better member of our community. I won’t shop via or buy anything from Amazon until things change.