Amazon has been deleting negative reviews of Hillary Clinton‘s new book What Happened? after using a “verified purchase” criteria when evaluating the comments and commentators who gave the tome a “1 star” rating.
The Telegraph reports on the apparent trolling that targeted the former Secretary of State:
The online retail giant has a “verified purchase” option to signpost whether reviewers have bought a product, and none of the 42 reviewers leaving comments on Tuesday had done so.
Few of the one-star reviews remain on the website, but reports and screengrabs show that reviewers used the space to criticise the former First Lady and spread conspiracy theories about her and Bill Clinton.
One one-star review, which remains on the website at the time of writing, reads: “Read all the promotional excerpts, which combined come close to book length – pretty good novel. It is fiction, isn’t it? Surely, someone is playing a joke.”
Media analysts over at Newsbusters make an important point about how this deletion process is or is not handled in a bi-partisan way at Amazon:
It might seem obvious that not every reviewer has read the book, but it just offering an opinion on the author. But this isn’t just true for the one-star reviews. It’s just as obvious that Hillary die-hards would hit the 5-star button without reading it. A naive shopper may think this book is bowling over readers…instead of realizing this might be a very political campaign.
Let’s compare the Hillary star-count to Donald Trump’s recent campaign manifestos to see how campaign boosters and haters compare. His 2016 book Great Again drew 75 percent 5-star reviews, and 13 percent one-star marks. The 2015 book Time to Get Tough showed 70 percent were 5-star reviews, and 16 percent were one-star rulings.
Author Tim Graham goes on to point out that after the cleansing of the negative reviews that were deemed unworthy by Amazon, “fully 94 percent of Amazon’s 655 Hillary book reviewers have awarded the book 5 stars….and only 3 percent have disapproved with a one-star review.”
And no word from Amazon as to how many of the 5-star reviews have been deleted using the “verified buyer” criteria.
However, The Guardian has aggregated several of the reviews that have remained and there appears to be activism on both sides of the equation:
On Thursday morning, the latest reviews included a one-star write-up from a user who felt that “she lost and the best person in the world won, President Trump”; a two-star review from one who wrote that “I would’ve given this one star but didn’t want my review deleted”; five stars from a customer who simply wrote “#StillWithHer” and five stars from another who wrote: “When I hear people criticitizing [sic] the book on TV or on the radio or giving it a poor review, I can tell right away that they haven’t read it. Buy the book. Read it. You might just be pleasantly surprised. Great book, Hillary. Congrats!”
Perhaps the upshot is that less than a year after the presidential election of 2016, passions are still strong and partisanship has crept into every aspect of our popular culture including the rough and tumble world of reader-driven website ratings. And Mrs. Clinton jumping onto the bestseller list with a memoir assigning blame for her devastating electoral loss was bound to reignite smoldering flames in our still-fractured nation.
One must merely look at the memoir Mitt Romney wrote months after his loss to Barack Obama in 2012. When Romney penned that tome claiming that media bias and reverse racism was the cause of his loss, I mean, that book went off the charts, it was… oh, wait…. that’s right… Romney never did that.