Online shoppers in the UK noticed some racism this weekend. Amazon has since removed images in listings for AirPods and similar products that contained repeated racist language. We don’t know how the images got there, or how long they’ve been present or who was responsible. However, a spokesperson said that it had “taken action on the bad actor” behind the images. The product listings have disappeared by mid-day on May 31st. They won’t be offending anyone else.
The entries showed up on listings from new sellers who had little feedback. Which makes sense as you weren’t going to find these images on listings from major vendors. It was a deliberate attempt to get a racist message out there on the listings.
However, by the time they were removed, the damage had already been done. The images caused enough upset to make the term “AirPods” trend on Twitter in the UK. It also shows one of the challenges Amazon faces in policing its sellers. The company has tools to prevent this kind of abuse, but there’s no guarantee those tools will be used in time to save customers from problems like this. This one just happened to get through the system.