Amazon and Hulu’s algorithms are recommending conspiracy theory films, and the consequences could be more serious than you might think

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Amazon and Hulu continue to host and algorithmically suggest conspiracy films.
This comes as platforms like Roku and YouTube are removing conspiratorial accounts or preventing their search and recommendation algorithms from surfacing them.
Experts warn that hosting this type of conspiratorial content could spread misinformation, and even encourage people to commit violence.

“There is a sinister and secret group of people who roam the globe,” an omniscient narrator says. “They control everything from banks to the media. They own the world.”

That claim invoking the New World Order conspiracy theory comes from a film called “A Conspiracy To Rule: The Illuminati,” available for streaming on Hulu and Amazon Prime Video.

Both Amazon Prime Video and Hulu categorize the film as a “documentary.” Hulu put it in the site’s “conspiracy” section, which is mostly populated by films about aliens.

The willingness to stream such material, and the fact that the companies have made no public moves against conspiracy content, stands in contrast to the torrent of tech companies that have made efforts to reject certain conspiracy-oriented and misleading content, and shows a rift in how they treat misinformation published on their platforms.

Broadly, companies like Facebook, YouTube, and Apple have claimed to have made efforts to suppress misinformation on their platforms following the revelation that Russia had weaponized such content in an effort to influence the 2016 election. Amazon Prime Video, despite hosting user-submitted content, has made no public moves against misinformation. Nor has Hulu.

Last year Roku, Facebook, Apple, Spotify, and YouTube kicked notorious conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his InfoWars show off their platforms.

Apple said it did so because the company “does not tolerate hate speech.” Facebook said Jones had violated its policies on hate speech and graphic violence by “glorifying violence” and “using dehumanizing language.”

But Amazon Prime Video’s algorithm still recommends conspiracy films, including Jones’ own, to streamers. The 9/11 conspiracy film “Loose Change,” which baselessly claims that the 2001 tragedy was a false flag operation, is a recommended “documentary” on Prime Video, despite presenting a thesis that most experts have contradicted.

Those who study misinformation warn that the consequences of offering conspiracy films could be serious, ranging from the spread of hate to enabling nefarious state actors to promote their own agenda.

Neither Amazon nor Hulu responded to INSIDER’s requests for comment.

Read more: Amazon removed a bunch of products featuring Nazi and white supremacist insignia from its site

The films feature debunked and discriminatory arguments

On the front page of Amazon Prime Video, “Loose Change” appears as a “recommended Documentary Movie” for some users.

The 9/11 conspiracy film fits into the larger “puppet master” theme found in most conspiracy media, and generally spreads assertions based on pseudoscience that have been largely discredited.

According to the anti-Semitism watchdog Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the film “draws from the American Free Press, a wellspring of anti-Semitic 9/11 propaganda, as well as the work of anti-Semitic writer Christopher Bollyn, as sources to bolster its claims about the alleged government cover-up of the …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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