Web is atwitter with the newest outrage in the battle with censorship – the bookseller giant Amazon has tipped the scales between the free speech and corporate interest this weekend.
The rankings have been stripped from many adult and some non-adult books (like “Heather Has Two Mommies”), mostly gay and lesbian, making them harder or impossible to find in search results. A robot glitch? A deliberate policy change? We won’t know until Monday, but some of the authors of adult books have gotten a response that Amazon intends to deliberately throttle “adult” authors.
The highly disproportionate number of LGBT titles, even bestsellers, that got caught in the ‘net makes what’s happening even more troublesome.
However, Amazon is already backpeddaling – some of the titles have gotten their rankings back just in the past few hours. I suspect that they did not expect such a huge grass-roots outcry (yay, Twitter!), especially during the holiday weekend.
The event will probably end up with Amazon reinstating the majority of rankings and claiming a software glitch… but they’ll surely wish they could take back the letters they sent to those authors…
Censorship is an unavoidable part of Internet growing up. Less than 20 years old, the World Wide Web is now an integral part of our lives and our economy – and there are plenty of special interests that belive they know what’s best for us. AOL has been censoring what their viewers see since the beginning (ironic considering the AOL predatory chat rooms). Google has recently banned escort related sites from their AdWords advertising.
However, social networking is flexing an unexpected muscle, the same one President Obama used so effectively in his election bid. Through the means of the biggest gossip nets such as Twitter, Youtube, blogs and Facebook, we who are not “movers and shakers” have finally gotten the voice, visibility and the power to organize that is to be reconed with. I’m sitting back with a smile on my face and waiting to see what the big guys do now that they can’t ignore us… right after I join the AmazonFail Facebook group and sign the petition.