Prince Harry and Meghan Markle caused Amazon review policy changes?
Amazon, the world’s largest purveyor of print books, recently limited online reviews of the book, Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family as Sussex fans campaigned to boost the book’s ratings.
Prince Harry & Meghan Markle are now embroiled in yet another controversy in the wake of the publication of the book Finding Freedom, as fiercely competitive social media factions appear to be at war over the book, with claims of “organized” campaigning.
Amazon reviews of the Meghan Markle & Prince Harry biography Finding Freedom have been limited as fans wage the battle to boost its ratings. Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand’s revealing portrait of the couple is a bestseller on both Amazon’s U.S. and UK platforms. With stories of feuding brothers, snobbish royals, and secret romance, the tell-all soared to number one in Britain and number five in America.
However, fiercely competitive social media factions appear to be battling over the book, with claims of “organized” negative campaigning. Meghan & Prince Harry fan accounts urged “Sussex Squad” supporters to write their own reviews, and vote on existing posts about the book in an effort to boost its rating. Amazon has now stepped in to bar all reviews unless the account has made a verified purchase.
Accounts dedicated to Meghan & Harry are believed to have coordinated campaigns to swarm the site with five star ratings. One Twitter user said, “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 account added, “#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.”
Others have also inundated Finding Freedom’s page with negative ratings without purchasing the book. One review, without a verified purchase, said, “I’ll not be spending my hard earned money on a ghost written autobiography of these ex-royals and particularly since it apparently goes into graphic details of their toiletting [sic] habits.”
However, after Amazon’s statement, users complained they were unable to leave reviews. One user said, “They are moderating book reviews and if it doesn’t pass, it’s not posted. Imagine buying a book and then not being allowed to post your opinion of it.”
In all fairness, the negative reviews of the book on Prince Harry & Meghan have an enormous number of “helpful” ticks. And yes, the negative reviews do show up first.
The number one negative review, which received a whopping 2,337 ticks, said, “This book is so terribly written. It sounds like one of them wrote it themselves . . . the narrative has them perfectly crafted into these flawless human beings, going so far as to imply that they didn’t hook up on the first date . . .
“If it was so ‘real’ why not show some of the grittier stuff as well? Either they wrote it themselves or they paid the two that did very handsomely. Everything about it rings insincere and hollow and will most likely polarize and vilify them even further.”
Compare that to the number one positive review, which received only 524 “helpful” ticks. “For those who were really paying attention you could’ve put 2+2 together with some of the events that went down in the book. It’s sad to see that Prince William will one day be King and even with that he is not happy he needed to send his aides after his little brother all because of popularity . . .
“Meghan entered this family with a career, a lifestyle blog, her own millions, a reputation for being a good/hard worker, no sooner than she entered the UK all of these things were suddenly negative and seen as a problem . . . Onward and upward Harry and Meghan wishing u all the best, leave the snakes behind to poison themselves.”
Statistically, more than half of all Amazon reviews give a five-star rating. Aside from perfect reviews, most reviewers give 4-star or 1-star ratings, with very few giving 2-stars or 3-stars relatively.
An Amazon “review helpfulness” statistic can be calculated by taking the number of “is-helpful” indicators divided by the total number of is-helpful/is-not-helpful indicators. So, a review with 639 helpful reviews out of a total of 665 reviews overall would get a helpfulness rating of ninety-six percent. That’s an indication of review quality to a prospective buyer.
Seems like somebody decided to use Amazon’s review algorithm to tank sales of Meghan and Prince Harry’s Finding Freedom. Or, maybe not. What do you think?