Online giants Amazon, Google and Wish have finally removed neo-Nazi and white supremacist products previously sold on their sites. The change comes after an investigation by Click, a weekly BBC television programme covering technology news and recent developments in the world of technology and the Internet.
All three companies had a rule prohibiting the sale of racist products on their sites, but despite this, the BBC was able to quickly search and find neo-Nazi books, white supremacist flags and Ku Klux Klang products offered on each of the platforms.
More interestingly, after clicking on one of these products, Amazon and Wish's algorithms made suggestions for "similar" merchandise, suggesting more controversial items for purchase. One such product on sale on Amazon was a white-supremacist flag featuring a Celtic cross, which, according to the Anti-Defamation League, is "one of the most common white-supremacist symbols". The reviews of the product were particularly interesting. One review, published in June, noted that "it's a neo-Nazi flag. Amazon should not take advantage of it. Yet another buyer commented that the flag would be "good for parades" and thanked Amazon for "making it possible. At the bottom of Amazon's list of flags was a recommendation for another controversial flag, bearing the same symbols as the flags carried by the Christchurch gunman when he killed 51 people in mosques in New Zealand last year. The controversial items have now been withdrawn.
Wish, the e-commerce company founded in 2010 by Piotr Szulczewski, was also contacted by the BBC who noted the presence on the site of Ku Klux Klang-themed products, including a hood and a Celtic cross. Wish also withdrew these items after the BBC investigation. The sites also contained offers of Boogaloo products, linked to the anti-government far-right movement that tolerates terrorism. These articles were also removed from the websites.
The three e-commerce leaders each issued a statement saying they had rectified the problem. "The products in question are no longer available and we have taken action against the wrong actors who offered the products and violated our policies," Amazon told the BBC. Google made a comment saying: "We do not allow ads or products sold on our platforms that display offensive content or promote hatred. We enforce these policies vigorously and take action when we find that they are being violated. A representative of Wish told the BBC that the company "is working hard to remove these items and is taking additional steps to prevent such items from reappearing.
Similarly, Facebook recently banned several accounts linked to the boogaloo movement. The social media company has for the first time designated a subset of boogaloo followers as a dangerous organization, marking them for the same sanctions Facebook applies to 250 white supremacist groups and organizations it categorizes as supporting terrorism around the world, Reuters noted. To combat racism, Twitter has removed words such as blacklist, master and slave from its code and programming. "Inclusive language plays a critical role in fostering an environment where everyone has a place. On Twitter, the language we use in our code does not reflect our values as a company and does not represent the people we serve. We want to change that," said Twitter.
Source: BBC News