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HometechnologySen. Elizabeth Warren asks Amazon CEO Andy Jassy to explain why the...

Sen. Elizabeth Warren asks Amazon CEO Andy Jassy to explain why the company’s algorithms recommend Covid misinformation

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., wrote a letter to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy on Wednesday, urging him to step up the company's efforts to police Covid-19 misinformation on the marketplace.
  • Searches for "Covid," "vaccine" and other terms on Amazon turned up products that promote false information about the coronavirus and vaccines, the letter states.

Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon and then CEO of Amazon Web Services, speaks at the WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach, California, October 25, 2016.Mike Blake | Reuters

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., sent a letter to Amazon on Wednesday demanding it do more to stop the spread of Covid misinformation through dubious products on the marketplace.

In a letter addressed to CEO Andy Jassy, Warren asked for more clarity on how Amazon's search algorithms and "Best Seller" badge work, saying the company's recommendation engines are potentially driving consumers to books and other products that contain falsehoods about Covid-19.

Warren says searches for "Covid-19," "Covid," "vaccine," "Covid-19 vaccine" and "pandemic" turned up products that promote false information about coronavirus vaccines and cures, many of which appeared at the top of search results.

For example, a book by Ronnie Cummins and Dr. Joseph Mercola, the latter of whom is considered an influential spreader of vaccine and coronavirus misinformation online, called "The Truth About Covid-19" was the top search result for "Covid-19" and "vaccine," according to the letter. It was also labeled a bestseller in Amazon's "Political Freedom" books category.

Searches for "COVID 19 vaccine" produced other literature promoting discredited Covid cures or vaccine misinformation, including that Covid-19 vaccines are "making people sick and killing them," the letter states. CNBC was able to replicate several examples mentioned in Warren's letter.


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