Rachel's diary in this week's Redditch Advertiser (May 8th).
“Last week I was alerted to these dreadful ‘pro anorexia’ books by a dear friend who has bravely spoken out about her own family’s experience.
“I was shocked that the world’s biggest online retailer, Amazon, could sell these appalling and dangerous books that are targeted at vulnerable young people with impunity.
“If people see these ideas in a book, it gives them a spurious air of authority. There is absolutely nothing healthy about anorexia, people die from it and suffer serious lifelong mental and physical health problems. Promoting this content is illegal and extremely harmful.
“As soon as I was alerted to these books I raised this issue with the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, in the House of Commons in hope Amazon would listen and act. These is simply no excuse for it. They could easily refuse to sell it on their platform.
“The Health Secretary was as appalled and concerned as I was and promised to immediately look into this issue. He also agreed with me that Amazon has a duty of care to its customers in the same way a High Street shop is responsible for the products it sells.
“And even since last week progress has been made in getting Amazon to take down the ‘pro ana’ content which is being promoted and sold on its website. Over the weekend, my friend updated me to let me know these pro anorexia books have now been removed from Amazon. It should never have taken a petition launched by my friend and raising this issue in Parliament to get Amazon to act. This appalling content should never have been promoted online in the first place.
“Tackling the issue of harmful content online is being looked at in the Government’s Online Harms White Paper. Although on balance the internet and social media has been a force for good, sadly there is too much content online which is harmful and dangerous. Of course, social media giants must take much more responsibility for their platforms and the content they promote, but the Government is playing its part too.