Amazon has been accused of spreading “fake news” and profiting from conspiracy theories after it was discovered selling anti-vaccine T-shirts identical to those worn by lockdown protesters in London this week, I can reveal.
The world’s largest online marketplace currently sells hundreds of T-shirts with anti-tax slogans and misinformation, including one claiming that Covid vaccines contain aluminum.
Merchandise on the site includes t-shirts and hoodies with slogans such as: “No vaccine needed, I have an immune system”, “The big lie: vaccines are safe” and “I made my foil hat from the foil of your vaccines. ”.
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Protesters protesting in London against the lockdown restrictions on Monday – previously dubbed Freedom Day – were seen wearing T-shirts available for purchase on Amazon.
An expert, who sits on the government’s vaccine advisory board, accused Amazon of peddling “fake news” and “harming public health.”
Dr Maggie Wearmouth, a general practitioner who sits on the Joint Committee on Immunization and Immunization (JCVI) said I: “I am saddened and disappointed by such negative and misleading messages. We work very hard to build and encourage confidence in vaccines through facts, truth and accessibility for people who ask questions.
“In some vaccines, but not in Covid vaccines, aluminum hydroxide is used safely as an adjuvant. Without it, the basic vaccines would not work and would not induce an immune response.
Dr Wearmouth accused Amazon of hosting advertisements from sellers who “took scientific facts and put false connotations”.
“These kind of crazy slogans on T-shirts are bad for the health of people and I am very attached to that. I deplore fake news in any form and think it is fake news, ”she added.
I found that Amazon also sells books that label the coronavirus crisis a “scam,” some of which are listed in the children’s books section.
An e-book for children, titled “7 Steps to Surviving the Covid-19 Scam,” claims that “the vaccination will alter the DNA of those who experience it, going from low IQ to total failure of a organ and death ”.
Another children’s book titled “Sarah Won’t Get Vaccinated” claims to be “dedicated to all children and parents who are concerned about vaccinations and refuse to give in to the constant vaccination propaganda.”
Dr Wearmouth said she was “very concerned” that the books appeared to “target parents and their children”.
“One of the things we know is that confidence in vaccines is very important. This is a time when we really want to capitalize on the value and the lifesaving role of vaccines as lifesavers, ”she said. I.
Imran Ahmed, managing director of the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), accused Amazon of profiting from Covid’s “lies” and urged the company to immediately stop selling the merchandise.
“Not only is it wrong for Amazon to give these people the oxygen to spread baseless conspiracy theories on its platforms – but, worse yet, it is taking advantage of it,” he said. I.
“Goods pushing false anti-vax narratives put people’s lives at risk and risk prolonging the pandemic. Even more dangerous are children’s books, which risk instilling a lifelong fear of life-saving drugs.
A recent CCDH report highlighted how “social media companies have helped sophisticated and rapidly growing anti-vax networks gain 58 million followers”.
The report claims that big tech companies generate up to $ 1 billion (£ 720 million) in advertising and other revenue from the anti-vaccine industry each year.
Mr. Ahmed said I: “Misinformation is big business, benefiting producers, pushers and, above all, the technology platforms that power everything. The impunity with which they operate has fostered the emergence of entire industries of opportunistic actors trying to make a quick buck by exploiting people’s fears.
He called on Amazon to “stop selling these products immediately,” adding: “It should give its own profits from these items back to those on the front lines of fighting the pandemic. Lies cost lives.
Amazon typically pockets at least a third of all eBook sales, while it takes about 15% when people buy physical books, according to company policies.
It takes a share of anywhere between 18% and 37% on its UK t-shirt sales.
The online retailer, which celebrated its annual ‘Prime Day’ of discounts yesterday, paid around £ 293million in UK taxes last year.
An Amazon spokesperson said customers should refer to official health sources for the latest coronavirus guidelines and that it has added links to relevant sites on its home page.
They added that the company adheres to strict content guidelines and investigates complaints about certain items.