Amazon removes Nazi and white supremacist listings

The company also blocked their sellers.

Amazon's policy prohibits the sale of racist and 'hatred-glorifying' goods, but a couple of watchdog groups recently found Nazi and white supremacist products sold on the platform. Those products include jewelry adorned with Nazi swastikas and even a children's book normalizing racist beliefs written by George Lincoln Rockwell, founder of the American Nazi Party. Now the company has told Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison in a letter that it has already reviewed and removed those listings. Amazon said that it has also permanently blocked the sellers who violated its policies and has put a restriction on the goods the watchdogs found to prevent them from being sold again.

One of the points the Action Center on Race & the Economy and the Partnership for Working Families raised when they called attention to the racist goods is that Amazon was profiting from "products that promote or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual or religious intolerance." Unfortunately, the e-commerce giant refused to disclose financial information related to the sales of those items, so we don't know how much it earned from them.

Amazon explained how it scans the products sold on its website, though, telling Rep. Ellison that it uses machine learning to automatically look at and remove listings that violate its policies:

"Amazon makes a significant investment in, and strictly enforces, our seller policies. We have developed sophisticated, automated tools that use machine learning to scan listings on Amazon, automatically removing listings found to be in violation of our policies, before we are ever notified by an external party. These automated tools are supplemented by teams of investigators that conduct manual, human review of our listings on a regular basis."

Upon checking, George Lincoln Rockwell's books are still available on the website, including one entitled White Power. It's not entirely clear if those books are still up for purchase because the website's tools weren't able to spot them or whether Amazon is still in the midst of removing the offending listings. The company did admit, however, that it's still not done pulling Nazi/white supremacists goods from its distribution centers.

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