By: Ilana Siyance
Online retail giants Amazon, Google and Wish have finally removed Neo-Nazi and white supremacist products previously sold on their sites. The long-awaited shift comes after a Click investigation led by the BBC. All three corporations had a rule barring the sale of racist products on their sites, but notwithstanding the BBC was quickly able to search up and find neo-Nazi books, white-supremacist flags, and Ku Klux Klan products offered on each of the platforms.
Even more worrisome, was when you clicked on one such product, the algorithms for Amazon and Wish made suggestions for “similar” merchandise, proposing more hateful items for you to shop. As reported by the NY Post, one notable product for sale on Amazon was a white-supremacist flag highlighting a Celtic Cross, which the Anti-Defamation League says is “one of the most common white-supremacist symbols.” The product’s reviews were particularly interesting. One review, posted in June, had noted, “this is a neo-Nazi flag. Amazon should not be profiting from this”. Yet, a different shopper commented saying the flag would be “good for use in parades” and thanked Amazon for “making it happen.” At the bottom of the Amazon listing, there was a recommendation for another controversial flag, bearing the same symbols as the flags worn by the Christchurch gunman when he killed 51 people in mosques in New Zealand last year. The contentious products have now been removed.
Wish, the e-commerce company founded in 2010 by Piotr Szulczewski, was also contacted by BBC. The public service broadcaster noted Ku Klux Klan-themed products on the site including a hood and a Celtic Cross. Wish also removed the items following BBC’s request. The sites also had offerings for Boogaloo products, connected with the far-right anti-government extremist movement which condones terrorism. These were also removed from the websites. Google, which is a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., also needed to rid itself of racist content from Google Books and Google Play stores.
The three e-commerce leaders each made statements saying they have rectified the problem. “The products in question are no longer available and we’ve taken action on the bad actors that offered the products and violated our policies,” Amazon told the BBC.
Google made a comment saying, “We don’t allow ads or products that are sold on our platforms that display shocking content or promote hatred. We enforce these policies vigorously and take action when we determine they are breached.”
A representative for Wish told BBC that it was “working hard to remove these items and taking additional steps to prevent such items appearing again.”