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Amazon Prime Video is offering dubious conspiracy videos

It's raising questions about what a paid streaming service should provide.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
June 18, 2018
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It won't surprise you to hear that streaming services are full of documentary-style videos with dodgy claims about aliens or the paranormal. Amazon Prime Video, however, is coming under fire for offering considerably worse. The Telegraph has noticed that the service includes numerous conspiracy videos from widely discredited sources like Alex Jones and David Icke. Amazon isn't going out of its way to promote the junk theories (which include the New World Order and reptilian aliens). As a subscription service, though, it's paying the authors for their work -- unlike YouTube, it can't just pull ads.

As Gizmodo observed, there's also the potential for Amazon to inadvertently promote the clips through its recommendation system, which might reel in particularly susceptible viewers.

We've asked Amazon if it can comment. It's legal to offer videos like this in many countries, of course. However, the findings raise concerns about what paid streaming services are willing to host. While some may object to the idea of Amazon or others deciding what they host based on the accuracy of the subject matter, they do have to think about public perception -- do they want to offer award-winning shows alongside conspiracy theories that might reinforce delusions or even spur violence? Services will face criticism either way, so it's not as simple as either pulling the plug or letting the content sit as-is.

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