How could Amazon allow Apple AirPods listings to be hijacked by racist imagery?

June 1st, 2020

When you’re looking to buy a new pair of headphones from Amazon, hate speech is probably the last thing that you’d expect to see. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened when, in the early hours of May 3, Amazon users in the UK discovered product listings riddled with racist abuse, including listings for the Apple AirPods and other Bluetooth headphones.


Nadine White, a news reporter for the Huffington Post, took to Twitter to express her dismay at seeing the hijacked product listings while browsing Amazon, saying that the racist imagery “needs to be acknowledged, removed, explained, apologized for asap. Being Black right now is hard enough; we don’t need to be called the N- word while shopping online, to boot”.


Despite calls for Amazon to remove the listings – which appeared in the first page of results for the AirPods – they remained in place long enough for screenshots to begin trending on Twitter.


In an email to The Verge, Amazon said that “Our store maintains content guidelines which third party sellers are required to follow.”