Amazon has restricted reviews on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s explosive new biography Finding Freedom after ‘noticing unusual activity’ on the site.
The controversial biography about the Duke, 35, and Duchess of Sussex, 39, and written by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, was released earlier this month and was quick to reach the top of the media giant’s bestsellers list as royal fans rushed to pre-order their copy, while it also hit the number one on the UK and US sites.
But it has now emerged that fan accounts for the couple urged the ‘Sussex Squad’ supporters to write their own positive reviews and vote on existing posts about the book in an effort to boost its rating.
Amazon has now placed restrictions on who can review the title, with a message online reading: ‘Amazon has noticed unusual reviewing activity on this product. Due to this activity, we have limited this product to verified purchase reviews.’
Some fan accounts for the Duke and Duchess have been mobilizing a campaign to give the book five star reviews because they believe there is a rival effort to leave bad reviews on Amazon.
One Twitter user commented: ‘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 wrote: ‘#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. Please share, thanks.’
Another person added: ‘So I’m hearing that the #SussexSquad have launched an operation to hide and remove negative reviews posted about Finding Freedom on Amazon.
‘Sorry but just because you don’t agree with negative reviews – it doesn’t mean they should be deleted, removed or hidden.’
Meanwhile other Twitter users said their reviews were being rejected after the shift from the online retailer.
One person commented: ‘My review of Finding Freedom was rejected. Seriously? It was civilised.’
The biography currently has 3.8 out of 5 on the UK site, with almost 1,000 reviews from readers.
It comes after the book was declared a bestseller with 31,000 copies sold in the UK in the first five days of its release, according to new figures from data provider Nielsen Book.
The book has also topped Amazon US and Amazon UK best-sellers charts.
The biography offers a window into Meghan and Harry’s lives during their time as senior royals, and is full of details on their shock exit from the royal family.
It addresses the alleged rift between brothers Harry and William, 38 as well as the relationship between their wives.
The Duke and Duchess claim they were not interviewed for the book, which provides a high level of personal detail and a dramatic account of the events leading up to the Sussexes’ departure from royal life.
Mr Scobie has given several high-profile interviews to publicise the book in the week since its release.
Royal expert Katie Nicholl said the authors may be the ‘only winners’ from the publication of Finding Freedom.
Writing in Vanity Fair, she asked if the book was ‘worth it for Harry and Meghan’ before adding: ‘The irony of Finding Freedom is that, locked down in their rented mansion in LA, the Sussexes have less freedom than they did when they lived in Windsor.’
Meanwhile she added that the book’s authors write that the monarchy had lost two of its greatest assets.
She concluded: ‘They, perhaps, might be the only winners in this rather sad story.’
The book had reached number one on Amazon’s Top 10 New York bestseller in 24 hours list on the day of its release for pre-order.
Meanwhile in July, 14 days before its release, the biography also topped the media giant’s bestsellers list as royal fans rushed to pre-order their copy.