- On Friday, Amazon removed anti-vaccination movies from PrimeVideo, BuzzFeed News reported.
- Earlier that day, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) sent an open letter to Amazon expressing concerns that Amazon is recommending anti-vaccination products and accepting paid advertising with misinformation about vaccination.
- Although Prime members can no longer watch those movies for free, DVDs of those movies remain available for purchase on Amazon – with one, “Man Made Epidemic,” listed as “Amazon’s Choice” at the time of the BuzzFeed report.
- “Man Made Epidemic” has since had the “Amazon’s Choice” distinction removed, Business Insider has discovered.
Amazon Prime members can no longer stream anti-vaccination movies for free, but DVD’s of those movies still remain available for purchase for free – and one was listed as Amazon’s Choice for an unknown amount of time.
On Friday, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) sent an open letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on concerns that Amazon is recommending products that discourage vaccination on its platform – for example, anti-vaccination movies. Later that day, anti-vaccine documentaries were pulled from Amazon Prime Video, BuzzFeed News reported.
“I am writing out of my concern that Amazon is surfacing and recommending products and content that discourage parents from vaccinating their children, a direct threat to public health, and reversing progress made in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases,” Schiff wrote.
The anti-vaccine movies “Man Made Epidemic,” “Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe, Shoot ‘Em Up – The Truth About Vaccines,” and “The Greater Good” are no longer available to Prime members for free streaming. However, DVDs of those films are still available for purchase on Amazon.
At the time of the BuzzFeed report, The “Man Made Epidemic” DVD was given the distinction of “Amazon’s Choice” on the platform. However, as of Monday evening, it appears that the “Amazon Choice” distinction has been removed.
Meanwhile, the “Vaxxed” DVD is the #1 bestseller in the “Special Interests” category. “The Greater Good” is still available for streaming on Amazon Prime, but requires a third-party channel subscription. Amazon did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
According to the World Health Organisation, immunization is proven to eliminate life-threatening infectious diseases and is estimated to prevent 2 and 3 million deaths annually.
However, there is a rising trend of parents choosing not to vaccinate their children. In his letter, Schiff brought up Washington state declaring a public health emergency because of a measles epidemic that broke out in Clark County — a disease that can be easily prevented with vaccines.
Schiff said that one of the causes of this trend is medically inaccurate information about vaccines online.
“As the largest online marketplace in the world, Amazon is in a unique position to shape consumption,” Schiff wrote. “Yet 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.”
Schiff also said he was concerned about Amazon accepting and promoting paid advertising that includes misinformation about vaccines. He expressed concerns over parents seeing information on Amazon searches and recommendations and then choosing not to have their children vaccinated. In addition, he said that parents who are looking for accurate information could end up finding videos with misinformation about vaccines.
Amazon still hosts and algorithmically suggests other conspiracy films as documentaries, including ones on the Illuminati, 9/11, and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
Previously, Schiff had written similar letters on anti-vaccination content to Google and Facebook. Afterwards,YouTube banned channels that promote anti-vaccination content from running ads, BuzzFeed News reported. Facebook told Business Insider it is exploring ways to make educational information about vaccines more accessible while reducing misinformation, but it is still “thinking through what the right approach for this effort might look like.”
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