Wednesday, 06 March 2019

Anti-vax Content Disappearing from Amazon Prime

Written by 

CNN reports that Amazon Prime has been removing anti-vax documentaries from its streaming service after a CNN Business report criticized the amount of anti-vaccine content available on the service and Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) wrote an open letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos complaining that Amazon is supporting anti-vaccination books and movies.

Movies such as We Don't Vaccinate!, Shoot 'Em Up: The Truth About Vaccines, and Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe that were once offered to Amazon Prime members are no longer available.

The CNN Business report may be the trigger behind the sudden disappearance of the films on the streaming service.

“Amid a growing measles outbreak in the United States, the role of powerful tech companies like YouTube and Facebook in spreading vaccine misinformation is under heavy scrutiny,” the CNN report, written by Jon Sarlin, began.

The report went on to criticize the amount of anti-vaccination information available on Amazon.

“A recent search for ‘vaccine’ on Amazon yielded a search page dominated by anti-vaccination content,” the report continued. “Of the 18 books and movies listed on the search page, 15 contained anti-vaccination content.”

Sarlin seems to believe that Amazon users are just a bit too ignorant to be able to decipher biases in available content.

“But perhaps more disturbing from a public health and misinformation perspective, there were also books that people simply searching for information — new parents, for instance — could mistake for something offering neutral information accepted by the public health community,” the report continued.

In other words, the availability of too much information has the potential to be confusing, and therefore should be limited to items deemed “neutral” and “appropriate” by some “unbiased” entity — such as a medical community or governmental body bought and paid for by Big Pharma, of course.

Sarlin contends that Amazon should be able to restrict its available content under its policy that states it reserves “the right not to sell certain content, such as pornography or other inappropriate content.”

Interesting. Side note, if you typed “vibrator” in the Amazon search engine, you’d be overwhelmed by the available selection. If you searched for “transgender books for children,” you’d be swimming in content. For many people, those are examples of “inappropriate content.” Who gets to decide?

As mentioned above, Representative Adam Schiff’s letter to Amazon’s CEO is believed to be a contributing factor to the disappearance of the anti-vax content.

“As the largest online marketplace in the world, Amazon is in a unique position to shape consumption,” Schiff wrote in the letter to Amazon. “The algorithms which power social media platforms and Amazon’s recommendations are not designed to distinguish quality information from misinformation or misleading information and, as a result, harmful anti-vaccine messages have been able to thrive and spread. The consequences are particularly troubling for public health issues.”

Of course, the question remains, what qualifies as “quality information,” “misinformation,” or “misleading information?” Isn’t it “misleading” to pretend that vaccines are without risk? Isn’t it “misinformation” to assert that vaccines are always necessary? Shouldn’t evidence of vaccine injuries and their corresponding cover-ups be deemed “quality information?” Better yet, shouldn’t consumers be allowed to make those determinations, and not some governing body or algorithm?

According to Schiff’s website, medical communities are in “overwhelming consensus that vaccines are both effective and safe” and that there is “no evidence” that they cause debilitating or life-threatening diseases.

If that isn’t an example of misinformation, then what is? After all, if there is “no evidence” that vaccines are anything but “safe and effective,” then why is there a National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program that protects pharmaceutical companies from being sued in the event of injuries?

“I am concerned by the report that Amazon accepts paid advertising that contains deliberate misinformation about vaccines; promoting these advertisements as suggested content ahead of intended search results,” Schiff continued.

But is Schiff concerned by the bonuses doctors receive from insurance companies for administering vaccinations?

“Every online platform, including Amazon, must act responsibly and ensure that they do not contribute to this growing public health catastrophe.”

If this doesn’t frighten consumers, it should. Entrusting a company such as Amazon to “act responsibly” and control the information available on its website is a dangerous and slippery slope. Facebook and Twitter have already faced backlash over their crusade against so-called hate speech, which has seemingly turned into an anti-conservative agenda. Now users will lose further access to information that they are willing to pay money to receive? The free market is under threat, and so is medical freedom.

But in the vein of never letting a good crisis go to waste, the current measles outbreak may be just what the government needed to infringe upon Americans’ medical freedom. Unsurprisingly, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a hearing Tuesday called "Vaccines Save Lives: What is Driving Preventable Disease Outbreaks?" to capitalize on that opportunity.

Image: fstop123 via iStock / Getty Images Plus

Please review our Comment Policy before posting a comment

Affiliates and Friends

Social Media