I know I haven’t posted in awhile, (and there is a new post coming to explain why) but first I want to unload about something that has the Internet buzzing. I’m sure by now most people have heard about Amazon and their search engine/ranking problem. Over the last few days, Amazon users have noticed that the rankings of certain books have disappeared, making those titles difficult to find during a search. These books overwhelming fall into the category of LGBTQ literature, and although some of it is of an erotic nature, many are not, such as the children’s picture book Heather Has Two Mommies, and non-fiction titles such as The Advocate College Guide for LGBT Students and Challenging Homophobia: Teaching About Sexual Diversity. When Mark R. Probst (author of gay YA fiction) emailed Amazon to ask about the delisting of his novel, he was told that company policy dictates that adult material be hidden from some searches and best seller lists. Fair enough, except his novel doesn’t fall into that category. His blog further explains. The National Post has a good article about it too. Amazon has since released a statement, claiming the ranking issue is a glitch that they intend to rectify. Too little, too late, in my opinion.
Even though I haven’t read the books being delisted, and as a heterosexual woman this doesn’t directly affect me, I am still offended by the blatant censorship Amazon appears to have embraced or possibly fallen victim to. Claims regarding a ‘glitch’ seem weak, and smack of frantic PR damage control. I’m not impressed Amazon, you really should know better. If this truly is a ‘glitch’, then Amazon needs to seriously re-evaluate their current practices regarding reporting/ranking questionable content. Even if this is a direct result of user generated negative input and reporting, Amazon should still be held accountable for final evaluation of content prior to the removal of sales ranking. Again, I’m not impressed.