Elizabeth Warren Demands That Amazon Crack Down on COVID Misinformation
In the 19th century, we had snake oil salesmen. Today, we have Amazon—or so Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) seems to suggest.
If not the salesmen themselves, then Amazon is certainly the enabler, the means by which the salesmen successfully lure their gullible customers, at least according to Warren. Last week the senator sent a letter to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy with “concerns that Amazon is peddling misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines and treatments through its search and ‘Best Seller’ algorithms.”
“During the week of August 22, 2021, my staff conducted sample searches on Amazon.com of pandemic-related terms such as ‘COVID-19,’ ‘COVID,’ ‘vaccine,’ ‘COVID 19 vaccine,’ and ‘pandemic,'” wrote Warren in her letter. “The top results consistently included highly-ranked and favorably-tagged books based on falsehoods about COVID-19 vaccines and cures.”
“Warren asked Amazon to conduct a review within 14 days and provide public reports on both the extent to which Amazon’s algorithms are directing consumers products containing misinformation and on a plan to change the algorithms,” reported The New York Times.
She’s right: The top result for COVID-19 in Amazon Books includes Joseph Mercola and Ronnie Cummins’ “The Truth About Covid-19: Exposing the Great Reset, Lockdowns, Vaccine Passports, and the New Normal,” which has been blasted for its inaccuracies. Mercola has been a natural health proponent since the 1990s, hawking alternative remedies on his website, sounding off about everything from grain-free diets to the purported harms of 5G. He casts doubt on the efficacy of COVID vaccines, playing fast and loose with efficacy percentages, implying that medical journals and public health officials have lied about the vaccines working. His book may have some nuggets of truth in it—questioning the efficacy of lockdowns, though not appreciated by the public health establishment, is a worthwhile pursuit—but plenty of writers out there manage to question COVID public policy while not peddling bad scientific information that strains credulity.
Still, Mercola’s books s
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