- Amazon on Tuesday confirmed to Business Insider that it removed at least a dozen titles promoting MMS, a type of toxic bleach proponents say can cure malaria and autism.
- Internet companies have in recent months come under increasing pressure to remove anti-vaccination content and the promotion of fake cures from their platforms.
- Amazon was approached by journalists reporting on MMS as long ago as March, when they removed two books and defended selling others with “a variety of viewpoints.”
- After major pressure on pro-MMS content on Facebook and YouTube (which Business Insider investigated in depth), Amazon took the decision to remove more of the books.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Amazon has removed more than a dozen books promoting a type of toxic bleach proponents call “MMS” as a cure for illnesses including autism and malaria, a spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider Wednesday.
The move comes as internet companies come under increasing pressure to act against anti-vaccination conspiracy theorists and those promoting quack cures on their platforms.
Recently, Business Insider exposed a huge network of MMS advocates promoting the substance on YouTube, leading to the removal of hundreds of videos and channels.
NBC News first reported the removal of the titles from Amazon on Tuesday.
The outlet reported that the titles removed contained instructions on how to mix component chemicals to create what advocates call Miracle Mineral Solution, or MMS.
The mixture in reality creates chlorine dioxide, a form of industrial bleach. The US Food and Drug Administration warns that MMS has no medical benefits, and causes nausea, severe dehydration and vomiting if ingested in large doses.
The removal marks a shift in position from Amazon, which was contacted as long ago as March about the pro-MMS content for sale on its platform.
In response to an investigation by WIRED, Amazon initially defended selling books offering “a variety of viewpoints.” Two days later, NBC reported that two books had been removed from sale.
- Emma Dalmayne
This week – around two-and-a-half months after the WIRED story – NBC reported the further removals.
NBC said they include two titles by Jim Humble, a former Scientologist and founder of the Genesis II church, who claims to have discovered the curative benefits of MMS.
Humble’s account was among those removed for violating YouTube’s policies against promoting harmful content.
Humble did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider on the removal of the titles from Amazon.
Facebook has also removed accounts and groups in which MMS was promoted, after pressure from media outlets and lawmakers.
Amazon has been accused of being slow to remove harmful medical misinformation from its platform.
Amazon declined to explain the book removals in depth to Business Insider. It did not say whether they were part of a wider effort to remove medical misinformation from the platform.
The site in March referred Wired to its public guidelines for book publishers, which state that “as a bookseller, we provide our customers with access to a variety of viewpoints, including books that some customers may find objectionable.”
“That said, we reserve the right not to sell certain content, such as pornography or other inappropriate content.”