Amazon flooded with plagiarized books about coronavirus

Andrea Park - Print  | 

Searches on Amazon for "coronavirus," "COVID-19," and other related terms are now delivering dozens of results for books that include information ripped directly from news articles about the virus and the disease it causes, NBC News reports.

One such book was reportedly the top result when "coronavirus" was searched earlier this week, outranking cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer. According to NBC News, chapters were directly plagiarized from articles posted online by NBC News, China Law Blog, The Guardian and California-based housekeeping company Nancy's Cleaning Services.

Though that book was removed from Amazon's offerings after NBC News contacted the online retailer for comment, many similarly plagiarized books "written" by non-experts continue to flood COVID-19-related search results.

"Amazon maintains content guidelines for the books it sells, and we continue to evaluate our catalog, listening to customer feedback. We have always required sellers, authors and publishers to provide accurate information on product detail pages, and we remove those that violate our policies," an Amazon spokesperson told the outlet. "In addition, at the top of relevant search results pages we are linking to CDC advice where customers can learn more about the virus and protective measures."

Since COVID-19 began spreading rapidly in the U.S., Amazon has been forced to address related issues on its site such as listings for products claiming to "kill" coronavirus and excessive price gouging on items such as hand sanitizer and face masks.


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