by KEVIN KUO
#internetimmunity | Marking a big win for science and dentistry, Amazon appears to have removed the availability of the film "Root Cause" from its video library. The film can still be found on Amazon.com but most importantly, cannot be viewed nor purchased. There is a site disclaimer that states, "This title is currently unavailable." Amazon also no longer lists the film on its Amazon Prime Video mobile and TV apps. A search for "Root Cause" yields no results for the controversial film. These changes by Amazon appears to be globally implemented as virtual private network (VPN) applied searches from many different countries mirror the results found from the United States. At times, Amazon places a geographical limitation on its content due to licensing agreements. This geofencing is not the case in regards to "Root Cause".
Amazon follows Netflix who also earlier removed the controversial film from its video library, as reported by the Guardian (1). The film states many dental falsehoods, described by RootRadar, that are dangerous to a massive global audience on Netflix and Amazon creating a potential oral health crisis. RootRadar has also reported on the debate on health-related content censorship by these media service providers. Amazon and Netflix appear to take quick action following pressure from the American Dental Association (ADA), American Association of Endodontists (AAE), and American Association of Dental Research (AADR) about "Root Cause" (2).
On the other hand, Apple and Alphabet continue to support online purchases for the film in their iTunes and Google Play stores, respectively. YouTube, another Alphabet-owned platform, shares similar and more involved availability. First, "Root Cause" is available for purchase on YouTube. Moreover, a user on YouTube also uploaded the film's entirety on the platform with a description stating, "Banned Documentary on Netflix regarding the dangers of Root Canals [...]". YouTube also features commentary by channels that speak in support of the film, and some include doctors.
Dangerous health misinformation continues to be a significant problem on these media platforms beyond "Root Cause". Netflix is planning a series with Gwyneth Paltrow, who is infamous for misleading her fans with false health claims (2). YouTube and Facebook have had issues with anti-vaccination media (3). For the scientific and medical communities, this issue is a major concern, as global health is at stake.
1. Almendrala, A. (2019, February 28). Netflix pulls controversial documentary that claims root canals cause cancer. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/feb/27/netflix-root-cause-pulled-root-canals-cancer
2. Angeles, A. A. (2019, February 04). A new film claims root canals cause cancer. Don't believe it, dentists say. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/feb/04/root-cause-documentary-netflix-dentists
3. Belluz, J. (2019, February 07). Netflix gives Gwyneth Paltrow's health hogwash a bigger platform with new series. Retrieved from https://www.vox.com/2019/2/7/18215395/netflix-gwyneth-paltrow-series-goop-pseudoscience
4. Belluz, J. (2019, March 01). Pinterest, Facebook, and YouTube are cracking down on fake vaccine news. Retrieved from https://www.vox.com/2019/3/1/18244384/measles-outbreak-vaccine-washington