A little over a year ago, Amazon received a boost thanks to the arrival of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic in the world, where buying online was no longer seen as an option to be, at the time, the only alternative to the health crisis .
Despite its role during the contingency, there are those who accuse the e-commerce platform of selling misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines and treatments, which undoubtedly puts one of the largest companies in the world in check.
Amazon vs Warren
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren decided to send him a letter to Amazon where he pointed out to the company its responsibility for selling false or misleading information about the coronavirus situation.
Warren said this is due to a problem with the ‘Best Seller’ algorithm on the website, in addition to pointing out that she herself has practices that lead consumers to the wrong type of treatment or prevention twice in six months.
“This pattern and practice of misconduct suggests that Amazon is 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 illegal course of action from one of the largest retailers across the country, ”Warren wrote in the letter.
She continues by saying that the panorama of the situation today is different, calling this new stage the “pandemic of the unvaccinated”, this thanks to the fact that, according to herself, the Delta variant is responsible for more than 90 percent of the cases in the United States, but it mainly affects people who have not received or wanted to administer any biological.
Within the same letter, Warren points out that misinformation continues, and blamed technology companies like Amazon for not doing much to change this situation, especially in relation to vaccination.
“Even though the vaccine remains our best tool to protect Americans from the virus, myths about Covid-19 vaccines continue to spread, often facilitated by technology companies that refuse to curb misinformation,” Warren said. . “Alarmingly, Amazon, the nation’s leading online retailer, and the company’s search algorithms appear to contribute to the spread of misinformation about Covid-19.”
The Wisconsin senator said her staff conducted some searches on the Amazon website during the week of August 22, where they focused on searching for topics related to the coronavirus.
Presumably, the main results showed books based on falsehoods about vaccines and cures.
“When staff searched for the terms’ Covid-19 ‘and’ vaccine, ‘the first result, prominently displayed in the upper left corner of the screen, was a book by Joseph Mercola and Ronnie Cummins titled’ The Truth About COVID -19: Exposing the big reboot, shutdowns closed, vaccine passports and the new normal. ‘ Dr. Mercola has been described as “the most influential spreader of coronavirus misinformation online,” Warren said.
Likewise, the senator pointed out that the fault may be with the algorithm, since she gives credit to Amazon saying that “it doesn’t appear to have sponsored search results for terms related to the pandemic, as it did for KN95 masks earlier in the pandemic. “
Despite this, he asked the company to review its algorithm and provide a public report within the next 14 days to find out what its algorithms are doing to direct customers to these misinformation products.
So far, the retail company has not given a public response on Warren’s position, however, it is likely that it will not take long for a response to appear.
We must point out that, according to the White Paper “The Future of Retail” by Merca2.0, the 10 sites that dominate the Mexican e-commerce market are led by Amazon.com.mx, a site in 2019 obtained Mexican net sales for $ 904 million, almost triple the number two on the list (Liverpool).
In America, digital spending as a percentage of per capita consumer spending reached 2.2 percent in 2020, however, in Mexico this percentage was 3.5 percent. Even still above Asia (3.1 percent) and Europe (3.3 percent).
With this in mind, providing or giving preference to items that generate disinformation regarding vaccination and the coronavirus could be a mistake, especially for markets such as Mexico, where digital purchases, mainly on Amazon, had a boom in recent years. months.