Amazon Pulls Anti-Vaccination Documentaries From Prime Video After Congressman’s Inquiry to Jeff Bezos
Amazon has yanked at least three anti-vaccination documentaries questioning the safety of vaccines from its Prime Video streaming platform.
The move came just hours after U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) publicly announced that he’d sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos expressing concern that Amazon is “surfacing and recommending products and content that discourage parents from vaccinating their children.”
The anti-vax documentaries had been available in the U.S. as part of Prime Video but as of Friday afternoon were not available to stream. Those include “Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe”; “Shoot ‘Em Up: The Truth About Vaccines,” a purported exposé on the danger vaccines pose by potentially contributing to autism, asthma and neurological damage; and “Man Made Epidemic,” described as an investigation into “the autism epidemic and whether MMR vaccines have a role to play.”
Amazon reps did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Amazon’s apparent disabling streaming versions of the anti-vax documentaries was first reported by BuzzFeed News.
Earlier Friday, Schiff announced the letter addressed to Bezos, which said in part, “There is strong evidence to suggest that at least part of the source of [the anti-vaccination] trend is the degree to which medically inaccurate information about vaccines surface on the websites where many Americans get their information, among them Amazon. As the largest online marketplace in the world, Amazon is in a unique position to shape consumption.” He also cited a CNN report that Amazon accepts paid advertising that contains misinformation about vaccines.
Two weeks ago, Schiff also had sent a letter to Google and Facebook requesting details on how the companies planned to combat the spread of information discouraging parents from vaccinating their children.
As Schiff noted in each of the letters to Amazon, Facebook and Google, there’s overwhelming scientific and medical evidence that childhood vaccinations are both safe and effective at curbing disease outbreaks. He also cited Washington State’s declaration of a public health emergency due to a measles outbreak in Clark County, “signaling the resurgence of a potentially fatal disease that was effectively eliminated from the United States decades ago by vaccines.”
Last week, YouTube said it will no longer serve ads on channels that espouse anti-vaccination rhetoric. The Google-owned video giant cited its advertising policy that bans “dangerous and harmful” content from eligibility in its monetization program. Facebook has said it is working to “reduce the distribution of health-related misinformation” on the platform.
Separately, Pinterest recently implemented a change to simply block all vaccination-related searches on its image and video-sharing platform, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
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