Amazon is getting flak for policing the reviews posted on its page for Hillary Clinton’s new book, which went on sale this week.
The internet quickly realized Wednesday that some of the reviews of “What Happened” — notably 1-star reviews — were being removed. But the company defended its move, saying it had the right to make sure that reviewers were actually commenting on the product at hand, not just expressing dislike of the former Democratic presidential candidate (of which there is plenty, nine months after the election).
“In the case of a memoir, the subject of the book is the author and their views,” an Amazon spokesperson told Fortune. “It’s not our role to decide what a customer would view as helpful or unhelpful in making their decision. We do however have mechanisms in place to ensure that the voices of many do not drown out the voices of a few and we remove customer reviews that violate our community guidelines.”
As of Wednesday night, Clinton’s book had 4.9 out of 5 stars from 503 reviews. Amazon prioritizes “verified purchase” reviews, cases where the company knows the reviewer actually bought the book. Ninety-six percent of reviews were 5 stars, while only 2 percent were 1 star.
Earlier in the day, according to Quartz, the book had 1,669 reviews that were nearly evenly split between 5-star (45 percent) and 1-star (50 percent). ReviewMeta, a site that analyzes how authentic Amazon reviews are, found Clinton’s book failed in categories like “suspicious reviewers” and “deleted reviews.”
Reviewers posting on Wednesday make clear they…