Bezos-Owned Washington Post Asks Readers to 'Buy It Now'

And Facebook tests 'satire' warning

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 18, 2014 11:48 AM CDT

(Newser) – About a year ago, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post—and this weekend, Post readers noticed something unusual. Mentions of books in Post articles featured a button within the text allowing readers to "buy it now" from Amazon, Mashable reports. Several such buttons appeared, for instance, in a piece about the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, fueling discussion on social media. Later, many of the buttons disappeared (though at least one was still active in this article as of this writing), prompting more chatter. "Shameless," observed one tweet.

The Post, however, tells Mashable it has featured the buttons for half a decade, though on the side of an article, not in the text. They were appearing in the text this weekend, a rep says, because of an article formatting switch that "inadvertently incorporated" them. PandoDaily feared a blow to editorial independence; a Post rep tells Digiday, however, that writers and editors have never been involved in the button-adding process. Elsewhere in digital media, Facebook is offering readers a new warning label—for comedy. It's testing a system adding the word "satire" alongside News Feed links to the Onion and its brethren, a rep tells Mashable. The labels appear in Facebook's "related articles" section.

A screen shot from a Post article with a 'buy it now' button.
A screen shot from a Post article with a 'buy it now' button.   (Washington Post screen shot)
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
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