Sellers across Amazon’s marketplace are peddling goods that promote bigotry and violence, according to a new report from two progressive advocacy groups that focus on issues like racial and economic justice.
The Action Center on Race & The Economy (ACRE) and Partnership for Working Families released a study Friday after identifying “dozens” of goods with Nazi and white nationalist imagery. Amazon forbids “products that promote or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual or religious intolerance or promote organizations with such views” on its site.
“Third party sellers who use our Marketplace service must follow our guidelines and those who don’t are subject to swift action including potential removal of their account,” an Amazon spokesperson said. Amazon did not immediately respond to GeekWire’s questions about the process for identifying and removing objectionable content.
As of Friday morning, a children’s book identified by researchers as anti-refugee propaganda, several confederate flag items, a window decal of a hangman’s “lynching noose,” and a onesie for infants depicting a burning cross were still for sale on Amazon.com, among other items listed in the report.
“Racist family members can use Amazon to buy products that help them expose their children to messages and symbols of hate, helping normalize racist beliefs from a young age,” the report says.
The report is also critical of Amazon’s self-publishing tools for allowing authors and musicians to disseminate messages of prejudice. Some titles identified in the report, like “Truth, Justice, and a Nice White Country” were still available on Amazon.com as of Friday morning while others had been removed.
The Washington Post reviewed the report before it was released and confirmed that items from R.A.C. Records, a seller of racist music and goods, were still available on Amazon.com as of Thursday morning. Most of the items were deleted by Thursday afternoon, according to The Post.
Amazon isn’t the only tech company facing criticism for facilitating the spread of hate speech and symbolism. It’s a problem plaguing Twitter, Facebook, and other big software companies that have the power to amplify voices across continents.
ACRE and the Partnership for Working Families are calling on Amazon to develop stronger policies with help from experts who study hate movements and stop facilitating the sale of products that promote intolerance.
“Hate movements are resurgent in the U.S. and around the globe,” the report says. “Amazon must take a public stand against hate and violence, and take action to ensure that it is not profiting from hate or enabling others to profit from hate.”