On June 4th, Alex Berenson posted a tweet along with a picture of an email from Kindle Direct Publishing. The email was a content alert email which stated that his book, Unreported Truths of COVID-19 and Lockdowns: Part 1: Introductions and Death Counts and Estimates, did not align with Amazon’s guidelines and for this reason they could not sell his book. Berenson then accuses Amazon of censoring his book, that the book is based on entirely published government data and scientific papers, it doesn’t say that the Coronavirus isn’t real or that it does not kill people.
THEY CENSORED IT! It is based entirely on published government data and scientific papers. It doesn’t say coronavirus isn’t real or doesn’t kill people (in fact, the worst-case death toll is likely to be striking to people). And Amazon won’t run it.
— Alex Berenson (@AlexBerenson) June 4, 2020
Elon Musk then responded while tagging Jeff Bezos, the founder, CEO, and President of Amazon, that this was insane. He also tweeted that it is time for Amazon to break up and that monopolies are wrong.
Time to break up Amazon. Monopolies are wrong!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 4, 2020
Since then, Unreported Truths of COVID-19 and Lockdowns: Part 1: Introductions and Death Counts and Estimates is now available on Amazon. Alex Berenson celebrates by tweeting,” We did it!” The book is now #1 on Kindle. The book, according to the description on Amazon, answers critical questions about the Coronavirus, provides government data, reports from the Center of Disease Control, and papers from scientific journals. The book also provides unreported truths in different sections.
And there it is! “Unreported Truths” is #1 in Kindle. WE DID IT! THANK YOU! pic.twitter.com/Fr89ceVvgk
— Alex Berenson (@AlexBerenson) June 6, 2020
Alex Herenson’s issue shows how big Amazon has gotten over the years. When I was younger, Amazon was not a delivery or video streaming service. Now, I can browse the Amazon store and get anything I want with same day shipping while watching a movie or a show on Amazon Prime.
Which calls into question, are Amazon and SpaceX considered monopolies?
The short answer is no. According to Oxford Languages,”a monopoly occurs when complete control of the entire supply of goods or of a service in a certain area or market rests with a single entity.” SpaceX has competition with Blue Origin, Boeing Space, and Virgin Orbit and they all sell products for commercial and government use.
Amazon is also not a monopoly. According to Forbes, Amazon only controls 5% of retail sales in America and 1% worldwide. The United States Department of Justice also states that in order for a company to be considered a monopoly market share has to be greater than 50%. In 2018, Amazon’s share of the US market hit was at 49% according to BigCommerce, but is now 44% according to Yahoo Finance.
Another reason Amazon is not considered a monopoly because the company does not show monopolistic behavior, which Forbes defines as: “when one provider is the dominant provider in the market and that provider is able to prevent others from offering competing products and services”. To sum it up, Amazon is not preventing other businesses from doing business.
It is not surprising that Elon Musk responded to Alex Herenson for two reasons. One, Elon has criticized the handling of the Coronavirus back in May when Elon opened up Tesla’s Fremont plant against Alameda county regulations, has called lockdown orders ‘facist’, and has threatened to move Tesla headquarters out of California. Two, Jeff Bezos is a competitor in the space race with his company Blue Origin and has also criticized Elon Musk’s plan for a colony on Mars. According to Business Insider, Jeff Bezos said, “My friends who want to move to Mars? I say do me a favour: Go live on the top of Mount Everest for a year first and see if you like it because it’s a garden paradise compared to Mars.”