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article imageAmazon accused of censoring books by removing gay titles

By KJ Mullins     Apr 13, 2009 in Internet
Amazon has dropped gay titles from search results. Is the self imposed censorship from Amazon or is it a glitch in the software program the company is using? has been accused of censoring books with gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual themes.
An Internet fury was started on Sunday when writer Mark R. Probst wrote about the news on a blog. After contacting Amazon and being told that the books were now classified as 'adult' titles." Mark Wagner warns that the action could be a result of a software glitch on Information Weekly.
Indeed, an Amazon spokeswoman said late Sunday that the change was a "glitch" in their software, they're fixing it, and they're still trying to figure out what's going on. Even in text, she sounded tired.
My prediction: By the end of the day Monday, we'll find out this is, indeed, a software glitch. Or maybe some bigoted middle manager got too big for his britches. I am confident that this is not a reflection of Amazon policy.
Queerty is one site that isn't buying the 'software glitch' excuse. Amazon sent out a statement to the site:
"We recently discovered a glitch to our Amazon sales rank feature that is in the process of being fixed. We’re working to correct the problem as quickly as possible.”
According to the article's author running a search on homosexuality on Amazon brings up A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality first. When Digital Journal typed the same word in it indeed brought up the book title first. Most of the first ten book shown indeed were of a religious theme.
Mark Probst, the author who started the furor received an email from Amazon after he asked two weeks ago why his gay-themed romance books were removed from the listings.
"In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude "adult" material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.
Hence, if you have further questions, kindly write back to us.
Best regards,
Ashlyn D
Member Services Advantage"
The titles are still on the site, they have just been delisted. Amazon reports CNET has simply excluded 'adult' material from appearing on some searches and best sellers lists.
After a weekend of Twitters flying back and forth, one has to wonder if Amazon will take a hit over this matter? In times of economic crisis, any help can be devastating.
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