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Amazon is full of anti-vaccine misinformation



But there is another massive platform offering spyware anti-vaccination to people seeking information, a review by CNN Business reveals: Amazon, the world's largest online marketplace. And, asked about it, an Amazon spokesperson just pointed out the CNN Business to the company's content guidelines page, which says the following: "As a bookseller, we provide our customers with access to a variety of viewpoints, including books that some customers may find objectionable "
A recent search for" vaccine "on Amazon ( AMZN ) yielded a search page dominated by anti-vaccination content. Of the 1
8 books and movies listed on the search page, 15 contained anti-vaccination content. The first listing was a sponsored post – that is, an ad for which Amazon was paid – for the book "Vaccines on Trial: Truth and Consequences of Mandatory Shots" by Pierre St. Clair, which Amazon was also offering for free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

Among the search results were books and movies that made their anti-vaccination stance clear in their titles, like the movies "We Do not Vaccinate!" and "Shoot 'Em Up: The Truth About Vaccines."

But perhaps more disturbing from a public health and misinformation perspective, there were also books that people just looking for information – new parents, for instance – could be mistaken for something offering neutral information that the public health community accepted, such as Miller's Review of Critical Vaccine Studies: 400 Important Scientific Papers Summarized for Parents and Researchers and The Vaccine-Friendly Plan: Dr. Paul's Safe and Effective Approach to Immunity and Health – from Pregnancy Through Your Child's Teen Years, both of which featured on Amazon's " Best Seller "tag.

Amazon also offers its Prime members a number of anti-vaccination movies for free viewing on Prime Video, such as "VAXXED: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe," which was dropped from the Tribeca Film Festival in 2016 following a public outcry.
Its director, Andrew Wakefield, has played a central role in spreading anti-vaccine propaganda. Wakefield was part of a team of researchers who published a 1998 study that became the basis for the anti-vaccination movement.

Amazon declined to comment on how much it was paid for the "Vaccines on Trial" ad, or whether it has accepted money to promote any other anti-vaccination books or movies.

CNN Business' findings are upset at least one expert in the field.

"It's dirty money," Dr. Paul Offit, a professor of pediatrics at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and a prominent proponent of vaccination, said of the ad Amazon ran. "What Amazon is willing to do is, for a price, put bad information out there. They should be held accountable … There are no two sides to the science. Vaccines do not cause autism, diabetes, MS, or "

Tech companies under fire

Earlier this month, Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California, sent an open letter to Facebook ( FB ) and Google ( GOOGL which owns YouTube, expressing concern that the companies are "surfacing and recommending" anti-vaccination content that has caused "declining vaccination rates, which could reverse progress in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases."

"The algorithms which power social media platforms as well as 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 said in a statement to CNN Business. "Every online platform, including Amazon, must act responsibly and ensure that they do not contribute to this growing public health catastrophe."

In a statement sent to CNN earlier this month, a Facebook spokesperson said that he "has taken steps to reduce The distribution of health-related misinformation on Facebook, but we know we have more to do. "

" We are currently working with external experts for additional changes that we will be announcing soon. "

 Facebook to get tougher on anti-vaxers

Critics have also pointed to YouTube's practice of recommending videos based on watch. history as leading users for anti-vaccination misinformation. A spokeswoman told CNN Business on Monday that "Misinformation is a hard challenge and any misinformation about medical topics is particularly relevant," the Guardian recently recommended a video on the Mayo Clinic on the measles vaccine.

"We've taken a number of steps to address this including surfacing more authoritative content across our site for people searching for vaccination related topics, beginning to reduce the recommendations of certain anti-vaccination videos and showing information panels with more sources where As many algorithmic changes, these efforts will be gradual and will become more and more accurate over time. "

Pinterest also recently announced that it has blocked all vaccine searches from its platform in a temporary ban.

Measles outbreak linked to unvaccinated people

In February, the CDC reported 159 measles cases I had been confirmed in 10 states, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. The CDC partially attributed the outbreak to "US communities with pockets of unvaccinated people."

According to the CDC, most of the people who received measles were not vaccinated.

FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb recently told CNN in an interview that some states might be responsible for the low level of vaccination requirements.
Anti-vaccine communities cover the political spectrum, a phenomenon perhaps best illustrated by the skeptic Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Meeting with then President-Elect Donald Trump in 2017. Trump asked Kennedy to chair the commission on vaccine safety, Kennedy said afterward; the commission never came to fruition.

Offit said the outbreak of measles is a sign that the anti-vaccine movement has real consequences.

"Do we have to wait until there are a few thousand cases of measles and children begin to die. Will that move us?" he said. "Invariably it is the children who will suffer from our ignorance."


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