A book pushing the unhinged pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy theory is among the top 60 books sold on Amazon and the company’s algorithm continues to recommend it to other users, NBC News reported.
“QAnon: An Invitation to the Great Awakening,” which does not even list an author, was ranked at No. 56 on Monday and the company’s algorithm included it in their “Hot new releases” section on the Amazon home page.
The book ranks No. 9 among books in politics and No. 1 among books about “Censorship,” ahead of “Fahrenheit 451.”
“The book claims without evidence a variety of outlandish claims including that prominent Democrats murder and eat children and that the U.S. government created both AIDS and the movie Monsters Inc,” NBC reported. “The paperback, which cost $17 at press time, features outlandish claims, sometimes written in rapid succession with no evidence. On one page, the book baselessly claims that the United States government created AIDS, polio, Lyme disease, some natural disasters, two Indiana Jones movies and the Pixar movie Monsters Inc.”
Conspiracy theorists gaming Amazon algorithm:
Conspiracy theory researcher Mike Rothschild told NBC News that the book is an example of how conspiracy theorists that have seen YouTube crack down on their content are gaming other algorithms.
“They absolutely exploited flaws in Amazon's algorithms,” Rothschild said. “They also know that Q has a small but devoted fan base that is willing to spend money. So if it gets a huge spike of sales just as it's released, it'll shoot up Amazon's lists and get in front of more people, even if those initial sales make up the bulk of who pays for it.”
“To be clear, they absolutely shouldn’t be censoring the availability of books like this,” added Jason Kint, the CEO of Digital Content Next. “But the fact we’re left only with the publisher’s own description of the book and a clearly gamed set of 5-star reviews — how is the average shopper supposed to know this is toxic garbage?”
QAnon myth continues to grow:
“The theory, which was born from cryptic posts by someone, or someones, calling themselves ‘Q’ on the internet cesspit 4Chan, claims that prominent liberals and Democrats including Hillary Clinton are part of a wide-reaching ring of Satanic child molesters and murderers,” Splinter News explained. “According to the theory, Donald Trump is secretly fighting this cabal through Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Mueller is supposedly indicting the conspirators in secret trials and releasing them with ankle bracelets. Also, John F. Kennedy, Jr. is actually alive, having faked his own death.”
The conspiracy has had very real effects.
"While you may laugh at the patent absurdity of that theory, its unreality has become a very tangible part of our reality," wrote Paste Magazine's Jacob Weindling. "A SWAT Officer sporting a QAnon patch posed in a photo with the Vice President of the United States. A pastry chef at the White House believes this conspiracy and even decorated a cake with the letter Q. The 'call to violence' link above describes a horrific story of a 26-year-old man with signs of mental illness stabbing his brother in the head with a sword because he thought he was a 'lizard' person."