Amazon Is Removing QAnon Products From Platform After US Capitol Attack
Books related to the baseless conspiracy theory will still be available to buy.
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Amazon announced on Jan. 11 it was banning products related to the fringe QAnon conspiracy theory from its marketplace website, citing violations of the company’s policy against offensive items and inappropriate content. Anyone who signs up to sell products on Amazon agrees to a long list of policies beforehand and may have their products removed from the platform at any time, without warning.
The move comes as law-enforcement investigations have shown known followers of that campaign of disinformation were involved in the deadly riots and breach of the United States Capitol on Jan. 6, which killed five people.
A number of the participants in the insurrection attempt were photographed wearing shirts, hats and other items promoting the baseless conspiracy theory that purports that many who are involved in the government and oppose President Trump are pedophiles and cannibals who worship Satan. Many QAnon-related items were still available for purchase on Amazon in the days following the deadly attack on the Capitol and other militant protests across the country.
The ban came after Amazon made another major move to distance itself from such violent political extremists in the aftermath of the overthrow attempt. On Jan. 10, the company announced it was kicking Parler, a social media app favored by far right-wing conservatives as a Twitter alternative, off of its web servers. At that time, Amazon told Parler it had seen “a steady increase in violent content on [its] website, all of which violates our terms.”
QAnon members were an active group on the Parler app and website and promoted their unfounded theories about the 2020 election, that the COVID-19 pandemic is a hoax and various other dangerous lies that have been proven to be false.
Yet, despite Amazon’s ban of Parler, consumers noticed many third-party vendors continued to sell QAnon merchandise on its marketplace website and began calling out the retail giant out on social media to carefully review its offerings.
Amazon said it would take some time to review all of its listings to purge the offending products. The company also warned vendors who try to sell the outlawed products that they could be permanently banned from Amazon as a result.
As of Jan. 14, we were able to find only a few QAnon-related products through a quick Amazon search of the term. Ones like this pro-Trump shirt, which replaces the second zero in “2020” with a “Q,” would be easy to miss if you didn’t know what to look for. By publication time on Jan. 15, this product had been removed from the site.
Our search of Amazon’s marketplace did still reveal dozens of books tied to the QAnon movement but there’s an important reason for that. Amazon considers nearly all books, music and other media to be above its offensive products policy.
“As a bookseller, we provide our customers with access to a variety of viewpoints, including books that some customers may find objectionable,” according to Amazon’s Content Guidelines for Books. “That said, we reserve the right not to sell certain content, such as pornography or other inappropriate content.”
Amazon’s ban on QAnon products comes months after online retailer Etsy announced a similar ban in October 2020.
This story originally appeared on Simplemost.