Are Amazon spying on you?
Are you the kind of person who likes to review things on Amazon? Well, you might not want to after a rather serious allegation has been made against the online vendor. They've been accused of spying on reviewers' social media profiles.
The kicker is this: a blogger from New York called Imy Santiago, wrote a book review on Amazon, and it was censored on a number of occasions, saying that she'd violated the rules of the site. Imy questioned Amazon's decision and found that she had been blocked from reviewing the book in question, because they thought she knew the person who wrote it.
Amazon said: "We cannot post your Customer Review for (book title deleted) by (author name deleted) to the Amazon website because your account activity indicates that you know the author."
"Customer Reviews are meant to give customers unbiased product feedback from fellow shoppers... we encourage family and friends to share their enthusiasm for the book through our Customer Discussions feature or Editorial Reviews feature."
The problem was, that Santiago doesn't know the author at all. So, how did Amazon jump to this conclusion? Well, it has been suggested that Amazon are snooping around reviewers' social media profiles, looking for connections between those leaving reviews and authors.
On her blog, Imy wrote: "The Big Brother mentality Amazon is employing is appalling, and crosses an ethical line of unfathomable proportions."
"What quantifiable and verifiable ways is Amazon using to determine if I know the author of a book, or not? The fact that they refuse to elaborate as to how I 'know the author personally' is highly concerning."
She added: "I applaud Amazon for trying to curb unethical positive/negative reviews from being posted. What I don’t find congruent is them monitoring social media activity as basis to determine associations, because as an indie writer I use social media to network and promote my books, like thousands before me. I never consented to that in their terms and conditions. If Amazon is data mining, we deserve to know, and I stand my ground in saying I do not know this author on a personal level as Amazon claims."