Elizabeth Warren asks Amazon to suppress books with COVID-19 'misinformation'

Warren is attempting to 'circumvent the Constitution' to attack free speech, analyst said

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., sent a letter to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy demanding that Amazon use its algorithm to throttle the sale of books she characterized as spreading "COVID-19 misinformation."

After pulling up search results on Amazon for various COVID-19 and vaccine-related terms, Warren's team claimed many of the books that came up were "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. "At a time when every step towards ending the pandemic could save countless lives, misinformation poses a substantial obstacle."

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"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," the senator added.

Warren faulted Amazon's algorithm for seeming to promote the book "The Truth About COVID-19: Exposing the Great Reset, Lockdowns, Vaccine Passports, and the New Normal." The book, written by Joseph Mercola and Ronnie Cummins, is a bestseller on the online marketplace.

The book "asserts that vitamin C, vitamin D, and quercetin — supplements sold on Mercola’s website — can prevent COVID-19 infection, a claim with such little scientific basis that the FDA sent a letter instructing Mercola to cease selling these supplements for the unapproved and unauthorized treatment of COVID-19," Warren wrote.

She also criticized Amazon for seeming to promote other books that advocate for unproven COVID-19 cures.

Amazon stood by the diversity of viewpoints represented in its online library in a statement to Fox News.

"As a company, we continue to encourage our employees to get vaccinated, and we believe it is an important step for communities to stay healthy and recover from the pandemic. As a retailer, we respect that our customers want access to a wide variety of viewpoints on the matter, which is why we continue to list the books in question," an Amazon spokesperson told Fox News on Monday in an email. 

A conservative analyst claimed that Warren's letter constitutes an attempt to circumvent the Constitution and stifle free speech. 

"Warren's push for more censorship is yet another example of the growing symbiosis between Big Tech and big government," Kara Frederick, a research fellow in technology policy at the Heritage Foundation, told Fox News in an email. 

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She also warned that Warren's letter indicates a "broader trend: That of the Biden Administration and other progressive officials attempting to circumvent the Constitution by pressuring private tech companies to restrict freedom of expression under a broad definition of misinformation."

"Current attempts to define misinformation are mutable and often used as a catchall for 'views we don't like,'" Frederick warned. "This catchall is then weaponized against anything to the right of leftist narratives about a host of topics." (see: NY Post’s Hunter Biden-Ukraine story in 2020, YouTube’s suppression of Ron DeSantis’s policy roundtable on COVID in April, their takedown of Hoover’s Scott Atlas’s coronavirus interview last September etc.)."

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The analyst also noted that "a few months ago, the Wuhan lab leak theory was actively suppressed by these companies as misinformation before a confluence of evidence indicated its plausibility."

"A healthy body politic depends on the genuine interrogation of ideas. 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," Frederick said.