‘Please consider removing references to COVID-19’: Amazon initially censors book written by lockdown critic Alex Berenson
Amazon attempted to censor a book about the coronavirus written by former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson after offering a suggestion on how to adjust his approach, but the company has since relented.
Berenson’s book, Unreported Truths About COVID-19 And Lockdowns Part 1: Introductions and Death Counts and Estimates, was the first part of a series of short e-books about the coronavirus, but Amazon sent the author a message saying that the book did not comply with the company’s guidelines, according to Breitbart News.
“Due to the rapidly changing nature of information around the COVID-19 virus, we are referring customers to official sources for health information about the virus,” Amazon said to Berenson. “Please consider removing references to COVID-19 for this book.”
Berenson has established himself as one of the most vocal and consistent critics of the coronavirus lockdowns, posting on Twitter and appearing on cable news arguing that state governments were wrong to impose strict stay-at-home orders on citizens during the pandemic.
“I briefly considered censorship but assumed I wouldn’t have a problem both because of my background, because anyone who reads the booklet will realize it is impeccably sourced, nary a conspiracy theory to be found, and frankly because Amazon shouldn’t be censoring anything that doesn’t explicitly help people commit criminal behavior,” Berenson said about the censorship, adding that the topic of his book was “an introduction and a discussion of death coding, death counts, and who is really dying from COVID, as well as a worst-case estimate of deaths with no mitigation efforts.”
Berenson continued: “I have no idea if the decision was made by a person, an automated system, or a combination, i.e., the system flags anything with COVID-19 or coronavirus in the title and then a person decides on the content.”
Later in the day, Berenson tweeted that Amazon had relented.
“WOW WOW WOW… KDP now reports the ebook as ‘Publishing’!” he tweeted. “Thank you all for speaking out!”
WOW WOW WOW… KDP now reports the ebook as “Publishing”!
Thank you all for speaking out!
— Alex Berenson (@AlexBerenson) June 4, 2020
“Looks official – @amazon BACKED DOWN! Of course I don’t know what anyone who doesn’t have @elonmusk and so many others pushing will do, but at least this time they backed down,” he tweeted.
Amazon’s initial move to censor Berenson had received significant criticism online, including from Tesla founder Elon Musk, who called for the company to be broken up.
“This is insane @JeffBezos,” Musk tweeted, adding, “Time to break up Amazon. Monopolies are wrong!”