In a Nutshell
*A study revealed that Nazi, fascist, white nationalist and pro-Confederate products were on sale on Amazon.
*The report stated that Amazon doesn’t do enough to prevent such items from going up for sale on its online marketplace.
Adequately policing online marketplaces is proving a difficult task. Café Press recently came in for criticism after it was revealed that users of its platform were selling shirts that advocated lynching journalists and a towel that suggested Mexican immigrants are gang members. Similarly, online custom merch platform Teespring has faced several recent controversies over offensive/racist merch.
Now, Amazon is catching criticism for having not prevented racist merchandise from being sold on its site. A recent study from the advocacy groups Partnership for Working Families and the Action Center on Race & the Economy found that Amazon’s site had for sale Nazi, fascist, white nationalist and Confederate items. A Nazi pendant, stickers and a cross-burning onesie were among the items. So was a children’s book about George Lincoln Rockwell, the founder of the American Nazi party.
Racist products that were for sale on Amazon. Photo courtesy of Partnership for Working Families and the Action Center on Race & the Economy.
“These uses of Amazon’s platforms are made possible by what appear to be inadequate and poorly enforced policies,” researchers wrote. Amazon “has failed to create internal systems that effectively prevent hate groups from using its platforms to propagate their ideas or that stop the spread of hate symbols via its online store.”
More Nazi products that researchers found on Amazon. Photo courtesy of Partnership for Working Families and the Action Center on Race & the Economy.
Not surprisingly, there was public backlash once the report’s findings were publicized.
Shocking & Abhorrent! Amazon sells Nazi & Lynching message baby onesies! Shame!! Sign the Petition here! https://t.co/lf5Dyy18HH— paul kruse (@pwkruse) July 12, 2018
Media reports indicate that items identified in the report have been removed. On July 12th, however, Counselor did a quick search on Amazon and was able to find some Nazi paraphernalia, such as the coins below.
Nazi coin posted by a user named “Penny.” It was for sale as of late morning eastern time on July 12th.
A user named “Hitler” posted this Nazi coin and stamp. It was for sale as of late morning eastern time on July 12th.
While the racist merchandise was the focus of the advocacy groups’ report, some critics have also taken issue with the fact that Amazon allows an array of Soviet Union-themed merchandise to be sold.
Amazon also sells lots of merchandise with them of the USSR - the Soviet empire that killed so many millions of people over its existence. pic.twitter.com/ulmgrlZ2KE— John Newcomb (@newcombjohn) July 7, 2018
Critics pan the selling of such merch because they feel it glorifies the Soviet Union and related communist regimes in Cambodia, North Korea, Ethiopia and other places. According to Stéphane Courtois’s “The Black Book of Communism,” about 100 million people died under those communist governments in the 20th Century.