Elizabeth Warren demands Amazon stop promoting books that ‘peddle COVID misinformation’

Elizabeth Warren is calling on Amazon to suppress books sold on the site that she says include ‘misinformation’ about coronavirus.

‘Given the seriousness of this issue, I ask that you perform an immediate review of Amazon’s algorithms and, within 14 days, provide both a public report on the extent to which Amazon’s algorithms are directing consumers to books and other products containing COVID-19 misinformation and a plan to modify these algorithms so that they no longer do so,’ Warren wrote in a letter to Amazon’s new CEO Andy Jassy last week.

The progressive Massachusetts senator detailed in the letter that she and her team conducted test searches on with coronavirus, pandemic and vaccine-related terms.

Warren said that the search resulted in some ‘top results consistently included highly-ranked and favorably-tagged books based on falsehoods about COVID-19 vaccines and cures.’

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren wrote a letter to Amazon demanding it stifle promotion of books that she claims includes ‘misinformation’ about COVID-19

The progressive senator specifically called out 'The Truth About COVID-19', claiming author Joseph Mercola is the biggest 'spreader of coronavirus misinformation'

The progressive senator specifically called out ‘The Truth About COVID-19’, claiming author Joseph Mercola is the biggest ‘spreader of coronavirus misinformation’

She specifically called out the book ‘The Truth About COVID-19: Exposing the Great Reset, Lockdowns, Vaccine Passports, and the New Normal’ by Joseph Mercola and Ronnie Cummins.

‘Dr. Mercola,’ Warren wrote in her letter, ‘has been described as ‘the most influential spreader of coronavirus misinformation online.”

‘Not only was this book the top result when searching either ‘COVID-19’ or ‘vaccine’ in the categories of ‘All Departments’ and ‘Books’; it was tagged as a ‘Best Seller’ by Amazon and the ‘#1 Best Seller’ in the ‘Political Freedom’ category,’ the senator lamented.

Mercola accused Warren of ‘censorship’, and claimed it is illegal for lawmakers to pressure private entities to stifle freedom of speech.

‘Senator censorship?’ the doctor and author wrote in a Twitter post on Thursday. ‘Warren pushes Amazon to burn my best selling book with 5 star reviews. It is illegal for public officials to pressure private businesses to censor anyone in the USA!’

In a tweet Monday, Warren defended herself against criticism for her call on banning books from Amazon.

‘We’re in a critical moment in the fight against COVID-19, and Amazon is spreading dangerous misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines and treatment. Amazon must review its online algorithms and take aggressive action to stamp out COVID-19 misinformation,’ the senator posted.

Her call on Amazon to stifle books, however, has conservatives worried about continued suppression of right-leaning voices by tech companies.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson said Warren just wants Amazon to ‘ban books that she disagrees with.’

‘Here you have a self-described liberal, who is a law professor at our premiere law school, calling for book burning. Did you think you’d live to see that?’ Carlson said on his show Monday night.

Before becoming a U.S. senator for Massachusetts, Warren was a law professor at Harvard.

‘Warren’s push for more censorship is yet another example of the growing symbiosis between Big Tech and big government,’ Kara Frederick, a technology policy research fellow at conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation, told Fox Business.

She claimed Warren’s letter shows a ‘broader trend’ toward progressive and the Biden Administration ‘attempting to circumvent the Constitution by pressuring private tech companies to restrict freedom of expression under a broad definition of misinformation.’ 

Frederick noted that some tech suppressions have led to factual information being stifled – like the theory that coronavirus was leaked from a lab in Wuhan, China.

‘A healthy body politic depends on the genuine interrogation of ideas,’ she said. ‘Big Tech companies’ eagerness to suppress specific points of view is already corroding our free society—and they don’t need Elizabeth Warren’s help to accelerate this.’ 

Possibly the most notable form of suppression was when Twitter banned then-President Donald Trump’s account after the January 6 Capitol riot, claiming they were worried he would incite more violence. The former president is still not allowed back on the platform and now sends out his thoughts in email statements. 

Warren’s letter was sent to new Amazon CEO Andrew Jassy (left), who took over for founder Jeff Bezos (right) when he stepped down as CEO on July 5, 2021

Conservatives often say they feel their voices are disproportionately banned or stifled on big tech platforms like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Google. 

Warren said in her letter last Tuesday that searches on the top online retailers website yielded results ‘based on falsehoods about COVID-19 vaccines and cures, including those written by the most prominent spreaders of misinformation.’

‘This pattern and practice of misbehavior suggests that Amazon is either unwilling or unable to modify its business practices to prevent the spread of falsehoods or the sale of inappropriate products—an unethical, unacceptable, and potentially unlawful course of action from one of the nation’s largest retailers,’ Warren wrote in the letter to Jassy.

‘At a time when every step towards ending the pandemic could save countless lives, misinformation poses a substantial obstacle.’

Jassy officially took over for Jeff Bezos as Amazon’s CEO on July 5, 2021. Bezos served as CEO for the company he founded for 27 years.

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