Amazon has removed a number of product listings that appeared when shoppers searched for Apple’s AirPods after the thumbnails for those products included horrifically racist slurs.
The product listings from the company’s UK site were flagged over the weekend by users on social media, with Reuters reporting Sunday that the topic “AirPods” was trending on Twitter in the UK. Reuters reported that at the time it ran a search over the weekend, the images were no longer viewable, and it wasn’t clear how long they’d been up. A search for AirPods on Amazon’s U.S. site did not appear to turn up any similar results Monday.
Saw Airpods trending. Saw why. Searched it for myself.
What kind of racist scumcunt would do this?
Beyond fucking garbage.
Fuck those that did it, allowed it, contributed to it and think this is ok.
— Benjamin Teacher (@benjaminteacher) May 30, 2020
When asked for comment about the incident, the company responded with the equivalent of a shoulder shrug and said it took unspecified “action against the bad actor.”
“Our store maintains content guidelines which third party sellers are required to follow,” the spokesperson said. “As soon as this issue was raised, we investigated, removed the images in question and took action against the bad actor.”
The spokesperson said that third-party sellers are expected to adhere to its content guidelines, which state that a violation of its rules can result in “cancellation of listings, suspension or forfeiture of payments, and removal of selling privileges.” The spokesperson did not respond to further requests about its vetting process for third-party listings, how long the posts were live on its site, or whether any users were banned as a result.
It’s almost as if Amazon has no reasonable way to answer for abuse of its marketplace of third-party sellers because no solution exists. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of abuse of the platform, and it definitely won’t be the last.