Publishing company sues Warren for criticizing COVID-19 book

Publishing company sues Warren for criticizing COVID-19 book
© Greg Nash

A publishing company is suing Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenHillicon Valley — Presented by Connected Commerce Council — Incident reporting language left out of package Exporting gas means higher monthly energy bills for American families Senators turn up the heat on Amazon, data brokers during hearing MORE (D-Mass.), accusing her of violating the First Amendment after she criticized Amazon's algorithm for allegedly promoting a book that contains COVID-19 misinformation.

Chelsea Green Publishing, Inc., which is behind the book “The Truth About COVID-19: Exposing the Great Reset, Lockdowns, Vaccine Passports, and the New Normal,” filed the lawsuit against Warren in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington on Tuesday, according to a statement from the group.

The book’s co-authors, Joseph Mercola and Ronald Cummins, in addition to Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who authored the foreword, are also listed as plaintiffs.

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The lawsuit is arguing that a letter Warren sent to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy on Sept. 7 included false statements and unsubstantiated accusations about the book.

They also contend that even if Warren’s comments are correct, they would not change free speech protections.

The Hill reached out to Warren for comment.

The book, which was published in April, encourages unproven and potentially dangerous COVID-19 treatments, in addition to baselessly claiming that the coronavirus vaccines authorized by the government have not been adequately tested, according to The Associated Press.

In her letter to Jassy in September, Warren said that when her staff searched using the terms “COVID-19” and “vaccine,” the first result listed was the book by Mercola and Cummins.

She noted that Mercola has been described as “the most influential spreader of coronavirus misinformation,” writing that the book “perpetuates dangerous conspiracies about COVID-19 and false and misleading information about vaccines.”

Warren argued that Amazon’s algorithm is adding to the problem of misinformation spreading online, calling the company's practices "unethical, unacceptable and potentially unlawful."

“As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, Amazon is feeding misinformation loops through its search and 'Best Seller' algorithms, potentially leading countless Americans to risk their health and the health of their neighbors based on misleading and inaccurate information that they discover on Amazon’s website,” she wrote.

The senator requested that Amazon perform a review of the website’s algorithms, in addition to answering a list of questions regarding the platform’s algorithm and its efforts to combat misinformation.