Why is Amazon moderating customer reviews of ‘Finding Freedom’?

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It didn’t even occur to me that the war between the Sussex Squad versus the racists would find a new battlefield: the Amazon customer review section. Do people really check out Amazon customer reviews? I might look at the first few reviews, but ultimately, the reviews matter as much to me as the comments on the Daily Mail. But apparently it’s a thing! Amazon corporate has had to step in and basically moderate the reviews for Finding Freedom, the book about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. FF is already a mega-bestseller and people have strong opinions about it on all sides. Look at the way the Daily Mail framed this story:

Amazon has restricted reviews on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s explosive new biography Finding Freedom after ‘noticing unusual activity’ on the site. The controversial biography about the Duke, 35, and Duchess of Sussex, 39, and written by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, was released earlier this month and was quick to reach the top of the media giant’s bestsellers list as royal fans rushed to pre-order their copy, while it also hit the number one on the UK and US sites. But it has now emerged that fan accounts for the couple urged the ‘Sussex Squad’ supporters to write their own positive reviews and vote on existing posts about the book in an effort to boost its rating.

Amazon has now placed restrictions on who can review the title, with a message online reading: ‘Amazon has noticed unusual reviewing activity on this product. Due to this activity, we have limited this product to verified purchase reviews.’

Some fan accounts for the Duke and Duchess have been mobilizing a campaign to give the book five star reviews because they believe there is a rival effort to leave bad reviews on Amazon. One Twitter user commented: ‘There is an organized effort to leave bad reviews for Finding Freedom on Amazon and to mark hateful reviews as “helpful” so they appear first.’

Another wrote: ‘#SussexSquad, the trolls are upvoting all the negative reviews on Amazon by rating them as helpful (some are rated helpful by at least 400 people). If you have time, please go rate the positive reviews. Please share, thanks.’

[From The Daily Mail]

The Mail makes it sound like Amazon has to moderate the reviews because of the positivity coming from the Sussex Squad. Um, you know that’s not how corporations work, right? No corporation – especially one as large as Amazon – is going to change up their customer review/feedback formula because the feedback is so positive. I’d be willing to bet that Amazon had to place those restrictions because the customer reviews started looking like, you guessed it, the comment section of the Daily Mail. Probably tons of racist sh-t. But of course the Mail makes it sound like the Sussex Squad is being “punished” somehow.

And now I’m wondering about whether there’s an actual campaign behind this on the other side. We already know the Cambridges hired *someone* to inflate their follower numbers on Instagram. Hm.

Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of Sussex visit to Sussex

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, WENN.

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34 Responses to “Why is Amazon moderating customer reviews of ‘Finding Freedom’?”

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  1. KellyRyan says:

    I spent a few weeks looking at the front page of the DM never reading any articles. It’s a hate sheet and I am wondering who might be paying to have articles printed. Royal Rota? (Trump campaign against Biden?) No surprise if Amazon didn’t see a pattern of attack against the book and limited hate speech.

    • NatureLover says:

      @ KellyRyan, you are absolutely right. The Daily Fail is nothing but a giant publication of hate, racism and gossip that is developed into the delusional minds of its writers.

  2. Priscila says:

    I find horrifying they seem to be going after the sussex squad people – the last week was that article calling one a troll, now they are framing people like super stans with paranoid complexes…

    Not only they always spin it but now they found another “enemy” to blame.

    These people are sick.

  3. jbyrdku says:

    Personally, I wasn’t that thrilled with the book. There was nothing bad about it per se, but I was hoping for a lot more gossip/bridge burning.

    • NatureLover says:

      But you have to remember that libel could come into play, hence the watered down version or no actual theories, just speculation.

    • Lizzie says:

      I thought it lived up to it’s promise. It was the Sussex story and didn’t get into much else. I’m sure that will be the next book, and I will buy it :)

  4. Harper says:

    Weaponizing the Amazon reviews is a thing. I think Amazon had to restrict reviews for Emily Giffin’s new book after her nonsense rage against Meghan came to light. Many readers do consult reviews before buying and many people one-star a book without reading it. Reviews do figure into the Amazon algorithims that are used to decide where the book appears in search results, and as a result, Amazon does step in and try to control the spamming.

    • BayTampaBay says:

      I never cared for reviews on Amazon as they are written but people whose ability to read could easily be called into questions.

      The reviews on Barnes & Noble website always superior to anything on Amazon.

      @jbyrdku – I do not think the book was that great either. Actually I would call it a big let down after all the hype. I do not think we really know the whole truth until QEII passes.

    • LadyMTL says:

      Weaponizing reviews isn’t even exclusive to Amazon, sadly. I remember when the Ghostbusters remake was due to be released (the one with Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, etc) unhappy fanboys were flooding sites with fake 1-star reviews. I wish more sites would try to be proactive and get rid of obvious spam reviews, but at the end of the day I might as well wish to win the lottery lol.

    • Feeshalori says:

      I also read the book and am glad l got it as a library loan. As many have said, there’s so much more than what the book is about that Scobie is alluding to in his interviews.

      • PrincessK says:

        I bought it to support Omid and indirectly the Sussexes. Omid gets a lot of nasty people going after him.

      • Feeshalori says:

        That’s a good reason, PrincessK.

      • VS says:

        @PrincessK — I did the same thing. I bought the a couple of hardcover copies, the audio version and one kindle copy for myself…..the other copies and audio were gift to people who probably don’t need gifts. I didn’t expect FF to reveal anything I didn’t know or suspect; a huge part of my motivation was to support Omid and reward him for his fairness in a sea of snakes

  5. Mads says:

    I looked at the reviews yesterday and the 5 star reviews are at 65%+ with a normal range of 2 to 4 stars (I gave it a 4 star) but the 1 star reviews are at 21%, which is very unusual and does not fit with a normal review pattern. I also looked at the comments and, my god, Amazon need to get in there and sort those out. One comment on a positive review is by a person with the account name “Meganmaggot” and most of them also use the usual disparaging names for Meghan. Some of the 5 star reviews are a bit much in their praise but it is definitely the haters that are going out and being actively hateful and duplicitous.

  6. lily says:

    There is an interesting movie on Netflix ‘The Hater’ about, among others things, fake news, power of social media that show how corporations buy followers for social media accounts…. good for those who don’t believe the Cambridge does it.

  7. Myra says:

    Amazon restricted the reviews when trolls targetted the book, giving one star reviews and leaving negative comments. These trolls did the same when the Elephant documentary came out. They do the same under the social media pages of charities or wherever the Sussexes appear. Sometimes I wonder what kind of darkness people carry that they are so invested in hating one woman.

    • VS says:

      @Myra — I wish someone could answer this question as well

      “Sometimes I wonder what kind of darkness people carry that they are so invested in hating one woman.”

      M is gone but somehow it is worse; there are dozens of twitter pages dedicated to hating her; I am like if you like the Cambridges better, why don’t you spend more time promoting their work and ignoring the Sussexes? Every time, M is doing something, they all come like cockroaches to spew their venom.

      Harry should be more than grateful that a woman of M caliber agreed to marry him and endure all this BS

      • Myra says:

        I honestly cannot comprehend that kind of mentality. To hate someone so much that you stalk them incessantly, make plans to turn up to her events so you can hurl insults at her, dedicate hate pages where you spew racist bile 24/7 *shudders*
        Meghan must love Harry a lot because I really couldn’t do it. Like Hilary Mantel said, I’m really glad it was the marriage that was prioritised in this instance. Otherwise it would have been all for nothing.

      • VS says:

        I have seen people called them Cambridges fans/Sussexes haters; they are not cambridges fans; they hate H&M, especially M, by consequence they say they like the Cambridges. Why not spend time promoting their work then?

        I think something is broken there….Emily Ramshaw even said how her twitter became infested with hate as soon as it was announced M would interview her…. you claim to hate the woman why not ignored her? you claim she is an attention seeker and a narcissistic, why not deprive her of the attention? All that attention has turned Meghan into an ICONIC figure. Everything she says or wears will be massively publicize; She is overshadowing everybody including her own husband. I am impressed by H; it is amazing to see a man from that family who is not afraid of his wife getting more attention than he does!

        Mental health is really important and more people should advocate for it!

        Your question still remains: why kind of people do that? something must be broken inside someone to spend so much worrying about someone they supposedly hate. I sometimes think those must be bots not real human beings

      • Myra says:

        I don’t think they’re bots. Real people can be this vicious and this unhinged, they just have no awareness of their behaviour. I will bet that the majority of these trolls are white, middle-aged women with kids (daughters) of their own, probably even grandkids too.

        Outwardly, these people may appear well-adjusted, but internally, irrational hate has consumed them. Meghan’s only faux-pas was to be the daughter of a black woman, who married into the most exclusive white space in our time (see: Barack Obama). She had already broken all protocols before she married in – that’s why they had that M*gxit hashtag.

        A decent person would explore where all that hatred is coming from and get help because it cannot be good for their mental health. I mean I’m not a fan of any of the Kardashians, but you will never catch me under one of their posts or pages spouting hate and abuse. That’s just crazy to me when I could just scroll by and mind my own business.

      • VS says:

        “I mean I’m not a fan of any of the Kardashians, but you will never catch me under one of their posts or pages spouting hate and abuse. That’s just crazy to me when I could just scroll by and mind my own business”

        100% agree with you! I just don’t get it! you can scroll…….you should see Omid’s TL; to know who to block just read the comments under his Meghan’s posts.
        Some are even complaining about Omid highlighting TQ saying something similar to what M said.

        I think most of them don’t give a damn about the RF and only pay attention to what M does. M doesn’t need PR; so many people run at every single mention of her!

        As you said, she must love H; sometimes I think she should have listened to the people who warned her about dating H; she got Archie so maybe it is worth it

    • BnLurkN4eva says:

      I think it’s a mix of bots and real people with dozens of accounts. Some people are just severely damaged and there’s nothing that can be done about it. Look around at the current world and wonder, how could so many people allow themselves to be so ignorant as to deliberately assist in the process of destroying our civilization like it’s nothing. Terrorizing Meghan is just par for the course for a segment of society. Hate is the new greed, some people get off on it.

  8. Sofia says:

    I’m not surprised they’ve got to limit reviews. I do read reviews myself for the most part so I check that out. Did a quick check and the top reviews are pretty bad. They’re very, very personal and they sound utterly unhinged.

  9. AMM says:

    They did this with Hilary Clinton’s book as well. Amazon had to limit reviews to verified purchasers because a bunch of MAGAs went on and flooded the page with hate and one star reviews. They don’t usually do it for positive reviews, considering the amount of random beauty products/clothes from China that have ten thousand 5 star reviews from bots.

  10. mk says:

    At first Amazon limited reviews to verified purchasers so the work around was to upvote the one-star reviews making them appear first.

  11. Ginger says:

    I always read a bunch of reviews for books. The reviews for Finding Freedom are awful
    and I have reported some. They reply to the positive ones with awful comments. I really hope something is done with these hate accounts. They are completely deranged and pathetic.

  12. bettyrose says:

    I prefer reviews on Goodreads, but those got pretty ugly, as well.

  13. Vanessa says:

    Where’s else are the trolls going to go to spewed their conspiracy theories and their racist vile . There no access to the Sussex’s anymore they don’t have social media accounts the way the British tabloids are going after Sussex’s squad members is ridiculously and completely unhinged the don’t have access to the Sussex’s anymore so they think going after their supporters is good idea . Going after everyday citizen is disgusting the depths in which the tabloids will use anything to try to smeared the Sussex’s further is unbelievable.

    • Myra says:

      You’re absolutely right . Now that they cannot go and leave their knife emojis under the sussexes social media page, they’re gonna go anywhere where they can unleash their obsessive, abusive behaviour.

  14. S808 says:

    I usually don’t read book reviews so I had no idea this happened but it’s not surprising at all. This book doesn’t paint everything as Meghan’s fault so it’s trashed. People even associated with the Sussexes— or Meghan in any form get abuse hurled at them. People are THAT invested in hating them— mainly her. It’s weird and unhinged. Can they limit reviews to verified users only? That may help.

    • PrincessK says:

      The most important thing is the book is a bestseller and the Sussexes are still front and centre.

    • MsIam says:

      They did do that but it was too late. All those ugly reviews are being recommended by the trolls. But what Amazon ought to do is remove any reviews that are not verified purchasers. If a troll is that desperate to leave a nasty review then they should have to pay to do it. Make Omid, Carolyn and the publisher even more money.

  15. khaveman says:

    They are a private corp., so they can moderate if they want to. Simple as that.