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article imageAmazonSmile supports funding of anti-vaccine groups

By Tim Sandle     Mar 5, 2019 in Health
Despite the scientific consensus in favour of vaccines, Amazon's charitable arm appears to be supporting some anti-vaccine campaign groups via the AmazonSmile Foundation.
News about Amazon's support for anti-vaccine groups comes from an investigation by The Guardian. The news site finds that the AmazonSmile fundraising program is promoted on the websites of four leading anti-vaccine organizations. These bodies are: National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), Physicians for Informed Consent, Learn the Risk, and Age of Autism.
AmazonSmile is an automatic way for shoppers to support a charity of their choice each time they shop, at no cost to the shopper. Amazon donates a small portion (0.5 percent) of the purchase price to a selected charity or non-profit organization. While there is a long-list of charities enrolled in the AmazonSmile program, these charities and non-profits are pre-selected. Moreover, many organizations actively encourage people for support.
When contacted by The Guardian, Amazon would not directly comment on the donations to anti-vaccine organizations. The general concern is with technology companies giving space to organizations that are not science based and which promote unsupported claims on as an equal a basis as those bodies that carry the majority of scientific or medical opinion.
In related news there have been calls upon Facebook to stop promoting anti-vaccine groups and adverts on its platform. The call comes from a letter sent by U.S. Representative Adam Schiff to Facebook. in the letter, Schiff notes that Facebook is displaying messages that could well pose a threat to public health. See: "Call on Facebook to remove anti-vaccine information."
Likewise, Google (especially through YouTube) has faced criticism over the proliferation of anti-vaccine propaganda. A report finds that on searching YouTube, those seeking information about vaccines are more likely to be nudged toward anti-vaccination misinformation.
More about Vaccine, antivaccine, antivax, Medical
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