Over the weekend, Amazon deleted hundreds of negative customer reviews of their campaign book. According to WND.com, Amazon deleted over 1,000 1-star reviews of the book, upping its average user review from 1.7 to 2.4. The story quickly ricocheted around the conservative blogosphere and was picked up by Drudge and featured on Fox News with the headline, “BIAS ALERT: Amazon ‘fixed’ reviews for Hillary Clinton’s book.” Sounds bad!
Except it isn’t, not really. Amazon has been deleting troll reviews of products for years. The deleted reviews of Stronger Together aren’t really about Stronger Together. Instead, they’re mostly a series of tired jokes about how Hillary Clinton likes to kill people and also is sick, and Amazon deletes reviews that aren’t about the product in question. While Amazon didn’t do much to stop fake reviews for its first 15 years of existence, the company stepped up its game starting in 2012, when it began aggressively deleting fake reviews. Over the past year, it has sued over fake reviews on at least two occasions. (Ironically, the publishing industry criticized Amazon for not doing enough to stop fake reviews until fairly recently.)
Clinton and Kaine’s book deserves to be savaged. It is a very bad book and there is absolutely no reason for it to exist. Sixteen dollars for a glorified platform is preposterous when you can get all of the information in the book—most of which means next to nothing—for free online. It begins vacuously (its first two sentences are: “It has been said that America is great because America is good. We agree.”) and doesn’t get better from there. But the idea that Amazon is protecting Clinton is silly, and that’s coming from an Amazon skeptic.
In any case, the trolls are still at it. As of this writing, the book is down to 1.4 stars, lower than it was before Amazon deleted the reviews. Many of those reviews will probably be deleted, but not to protect Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine.
Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.