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Documents: lawmakers criticize Amazon for COVID-19 misinformation

In separate letters, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) shared concerns with Amazon CEO Andy Jassy for what both lawmakers refer to as “unacceptable” business practices with regard to the promotion and sale of materials that advance COVID-19 misinformation.

Referring to a University of Washington research paper that found more than 10% of vaccine-related search queries on lead to products that misinform, Rep. Schiff requested “detailed information on Amazon’s policies regarding false or misleading health information in order to identify potential needs for federal regulation.”

Senator Warren directed her staff to do their own research on Amazon.

“During the week of August 22, 2021,” Senator Warren writes, “my staff conducted sample searches on of pandemic-related terms such as ‘COVID-19,’ ‘COVID,’ ‘vaccine,’ ‘COVID 19 vaccine,’ and ‘pandemic.’ The top results consistently included highly-ranked and favorably-tagged books based on falsehoods about COVID-19 vaccines and cures.” She notes that among the top results was a book coauthored by Joseph Mercola, which The New York Times recently named “The Most Influential Spreader of Coronavirus Misinformation Online.”