RT reports, Sept. 15, 2017, that Amazon is accused of censorship after it removed hundreds of one-star reviews of Hillary Clinton’s new memoir, What Happened, on the grounds that the reviews violated “community guidelines.”
According to Twitterer Wednesdayy, on Wednesday, Sept. 13, one day after Hillary’s book was released, Amazon had already deleted more than 1,500 one-star reviews:
An Amazon spokesperson told Fortune:
“In the case of a memoir, the subject of the book is the author and their views. It’s not our role to decide what a customer would view as helpful or unhelpful in making their decision. We do however have mechanisms in place to ensure that the voices of many do not drown out the voices of a few and we remove customer reviews that violate our community guidelines.”
One reviewer, who gave the book a negative review, said Amazon deleted his review three times and that “If Amazon doesn’t like what we have to say, don’t ask for input.”
By deleting hundreds of one-star reviews, Hillary’s book managed to register five out of five stars from over 700 reviews, as of Friday morning. But ReviewMeta, a website that analyzes the authenticity of Amazon reviews, said that 25% of reviewers of Clinton’s book were “suspicious,” a designation it gives users who have only reviewed one title.
This is not the first time Amazon has suppressed negative book reviews. According to blogger Dave Chesson, Amazon has been using an automatic system to remove allegedly biased reviews since 2012. Recent examples include:
- Last year, Amazon also deleted many one-star reviews for former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly’s memoir, Settle for More, claiming the reviews were politically motivated.
- In 2015, independent author Brenda Perlin said that one of her book reviews was deleted by Amazon because the company said she knew the author personally. Perlin wrote: “That blew me away. I mean, most of us indie authors know each other in one form or another. Mostly we know each other from social media. I mean, isn’t that why SOCIAL MEDIA got its name? I bought and read the book. There was no malice but I might as well been talking to a great big concrete wall. It was like having a conversation with robots? Maybe the robots have taken over the Amazon hemisphere because there was no humanity or reasoning with this so called ‘review appeals board’.”