Anne Rice and Other Writers Ask Amazon To Ban Anonymous Comments

Thursday, 06 Mar 2014 02:52 PM

By Courtney Coren

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A Change.org petition is asking Amazon.com to no longer allow customers to leave anonymous comments on books and other products, and several authors, including best-selling novelist Anne Rice, support the effort.

"What is at issue is the fact that there is an incredible amount of bullying and harassment of some of these self publishing authors taking place on the Amazon platform/system," writes petition author Todd Barselow.

"The reason this bullying and harassment is able to take place is because of the allowance of anonymity on Amazon," Barselow alleges. "People have found ways to exploit this flaw in the system and are using it to bully, harass, and generally make life miserable for certain authors on Amazon."

Barselow explains that by allowing commenters to remain anonymous, "people are able to create multiple accounts and then use those accounts to viciously attack and go after any author."

While Amazon might deactivate anonymous accounts if they get reported for harassment, the petitioner argues, that they just go and open a new account "and continue on with their shenanigans."

The petition was signed and supported by Rice, who says that she has also been the subject "the gangster bullies" and that all Amazon needs to do is enforce its own guidelines.

"They blatantly violate your guidelines with personal insults and harassing posts," she wrote in support of the petition. "If you would only apply your own guidelines this would greatly help."

She added that she thinks that the anonymous commenters are "obsessive abusers who have found some sort of dark home on Amazon tormenting writers."

The petition has reached 3,000 signatures so far including other authors such as Connie May Fowler, Rex Black and Sharon Sala.

Fowler said that she was the victim of an anonymous bully on Amazon when she published her last novel including "personal insults."

"I contacted Amazon and they said there was nothing they could do," she said. "Allowing lies and intimidation tactics should not be one of Amazon's business practices."

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