Senator Elizabeth Warren sent Message To Amazon asking it to do more to stop the spread of false information about the Corona virus through suspicious products in the market.
In a letter to CEO Andy Gacy, Warren asked for more clarity about how Amazon’s search algorithms work and the “Best Seller” badge.
The company’s recommendations are likely to drive consumers to books and other products that contain falsehoods about the coronavirus, she said.
“The searches for corona, covid, vaccine, corona vaccine and pandemic have resulted in products promoting misinformation about coronavirus vaccines and treatments,” she added. Many of them appeared at the top of the search results results.
For example, a book by Ronnie Cummins and Dr. Joseph Mercola, considered an influential publisher in spreading misinformation about vaccine and virus online, titled “The Truth About COVID-19,” was the highest search result for COVID-19 and a vaccine, according to the message.
It was also ranked as a bestseller in the “Political Freedom” book category on Amazon.
The search for a Covid-19 vaccine has spawned other literature promoting treatments or misinformation about the vaccine, including that vaccines make and kill people sick, the letter says.
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An Amazon spokesperson said in a statement: “We are constantly evaluating the books we list for compliance with our content guidelines. As an additional service to customers, we link to the top of relevant search results pages for CDC advice on COVID-19 and protection measures.
Furthermore, Warren acknowledged that Amazon has taken steps to direct users to accurate information about COVID-19, such as prominently displaying a banner above search results with links to the Food and Drug Administration’s website.
“The results of the review conducted by my staff are deeply disturbing,” the letter reads. As infection cases continue to rise, Amazon is feeding loops of misinformation through search algorithms and a “best seller” badge. This could harm a large number of Americans.
Warren included a number of questions for CEO Andy Gacy for more information about the company’s policies. With a deadline of 22 September for Gacy to respond.
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