Over the last few days we’ve seen the big tech companies make sweeping decisions about Alex Jones and Infowars. Apple took them off its podcast app; Facebook banned Jones and his associated pages; YouTube also banned the conspiracy theorist.
Now it seems Amazon may have made a few changes, too.
The ecommerce giant has long been known for its refusal to take a political stand about, well, anything. For instance, activists for years have lobbied it to stop advertising on Breitbart to no avail. Similarly, people have called for Amazon to stop selling Infowars/Alex Jones products, which the company seems to still be doing. This includes streaming some of Jones’s controversial movies, which promulgate his conspiracy theories.
On Amazon, @MorningTech found 9 Alex Jones movies available for streaming on Prime. One suggests a government plot for global extermination. And one of his books available online suggests 9/11 was orchestrated by the U.S. government pic.twitter.com/doh0mSuyG6
— Cristiano Lima (@viaCristiano) August 7, 2018
But Amazon wasn’t just selling the products–it was sort of recommending them. A Politico story from this morning noted that many Jones products had the “Amazon’s Choice” logo on it, which is an internal stamp of approval for certain items on the platform. Now, it seems Amazon has taken the “Choice” designation away from Jones’s products.
For instance, per the Wayback Machine, both the “Silver Bullet – Colloidal Silver” and “Survival Shield X-2 Nascent Iodine” drops were labeled by Amazon as a Choice product as recently as yesterday.
Now no longer…
It’s always been hazy how, exactly, a product receives Amazon’s Choice stamp of approval. The explanation the company provides is “Amazon’s Choice recommends highly rated, well-priced products available to ship immediately.” CNET recently tried to learn more about how the decision is made, and theorized that an algorithm may be the engine running the operation. So it’s possible that in the last few hours enough people ranked Jones’s products poorly enough to warrant a de-ranking. However, both products that lost the Choice status still have quite favorable reviews. So it’s unclear if the algorithm did this or if Amazon officials decided that recommending Jones’s products was simply too toxic.
I reached out to Amazon for comment and will update this post if I hear back. If you know anything about the workings of Amazon Choice–or the company’s decision-making behind Infowars–please reach out.