Lots of folks are whining that Tweeter, Farcebuke and ilk are “censoring” their communications. I just had Amazon refuse to post this review of their Gift Cards:
Worked 2 mos ago, failed just now
I sent one to another country and it worked fine. But when I tried to send to a friend in Texas, the interface kept blocking the purchase and demanding more input after–by my lights–all the fields were filled in. I finally gave up trying.
Amazon replied with this:
Thank you for submitting a customer review on Amazon. After carefully reviewing your submission, your review could not be posted to the website. While we appreciate your time and comments, reviews must adhere to the following guidelines: …
A few common issues to keep in mind:
Your review should focus on specific features of the product and your experience with it. Feedback on the seller or your shipment experience should be provided at http://www.amazon.com/feedback.
We do not allow profane or obscene content. This applies to adult products too.
Advertisements, promotional material or repeated posts that make the same point excessively are considered spam.
Please do not include URLs external to Amazon or personally identifiable content in your review.
Any attempt to manipulate Community content or features, including contributing false, misleading, or inauthentic content, is strictly prohibited.
So there it is. I tried to send a gift card to someone I’ve known for years. The interface refused to work and did nothing in the way of pointing out anything I had failed to notice. On the off chance they had failed to notice their interface was being unhelpful and refusing to accept money, I replied with my honest impression, and blam. My guess is they figure I was disappointed by the interface, not the product, and, well, there are organizations that consider their interfaces infallible, hence, above all caviling.
I’m not particularly upset and still plan to send my friend some other present from Amazon. There is probably a failure to communicate here. I may have overlooked something, and Amazon could just as easily program their algos to point to what it was and maybe even scold me for being so blind. I do not imagine there is some sinister conspiracy to shut me up. Quite possibly their algos flipped my flippant remark into a pidgeonhole for hostile cranks.
I do not doubt anything as successful as Amazon gets its share of hostile cranks. Even my own pitiful website has been hacked. I even got a fake ransom demand message pfrom a phake phishing pfor phools near Pflugerville (as if I were rich and famous).
It is possible that social media algos also do “judgment” calls of the sort. Something called Akismet searches my blog comments and accurately identifies spam–and algos are not famous for being smart. I wish I had half as good an algo looking over my gift card purchase attempts. Next time I try to send a gift card I am going to have a witness watching to spot what I might have missed.
Amazon did let me publish Prohibition and The Crash, a searching investigation into the causes of the 1929 Crash and Great Depression, on Kindle format. Buy it for the price of a chilly pint of craft beer.