Auction site eBay has apologised and withdrawn more than 100 Nazi-related items from sale after Jewish News raised the alarm – but has not said why almost 2,000 similarly flagged items were left in-place and sold in the past few months.
The issue was brought to the firm’s attention after Jewish News reader Tarbet Balfour reported 3,993 Nazi or Nazi-related items for sale through the website in the past 11 months, accusing the company of “ignoring” his complaints.
In response to enquiries from Jewish News, eBay launched an investigation and has now said that just over 2,000 of the 3,993 items Balfour reported were removed. Most of the rest were sold, bagging eBay a share of the sale price.
Many of the offending items are badges and medals adorned with swastikas synonymous with the Third Reich, some selling for thousands of pounds, with dozens of sales completed in the past month alone.
After Jewish News raised the issue of the continuing sales, despite these being reported and despite them breaching the company’s own policies, an eBay spokeswoman said on Monday that 109 items had been removed in recent days.
Balfour said: “I have been reporting the sale of Nazi-related items to eBay on a daily basis for months, but despite this they have continued to list these hateful items, even though it is against their own policy to do so.”
He added: “There is something very wrong with their reporting system, which allows you to report both by item and by seller. I flagged these items using both reporting mechanisms but was ignored.”
The listings removed by the company’s policy team were in breach of the firm’s offensive materials policy and serious questions remained this week as to the consistency and effectiveness of the policy’s implementation.
The seller said it uses block filter algorithms designed to stop certain items at the point of listing by searching for key words, and maintains that enforcement action against sellers can take the form of a warning, suspension, or ban,
An eBay spokeswoman said: “We have zero tolerance for discrimination or hatred in any form, and apologise these listings were not identified and removed sooner. None of these listings are available for sale any longer.
“In order to promote respect amongst our diverse community of members, items that promote or glorify hatred, violence, or intolerance are banned on eBay as per our offensive materials policy. Any seller in breach of our policies will find their listing removed and action taken on their account.”
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