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Amazon pulls racist images from AirPods listings

Jon Fingas
Associate Editor
Apple AirPods with wireless charging case

Online shoppers in the UK got an ugly dose of racism this weekend. Amazon has removed images in listings for AirPods and similar products that contained repeated use of racist language. It’s not certain how the images got there, how long they’ve been present or who was responsible. However, a spokesperson told Reuters that it had “taken action on the bad actor” behind the images. The product listings themselves had disappeared by mid-day on May 31st.

The entries surfaced on listings from new sellers who’d had little feedback. You weren’t going to find these images on listings from major vendors, in other words.

To some extent, the damage has already been done. The images caused enough furor to make the term “AirPods” trend on Twitter in the UK. It also illustrates another of the challenges Amazon faces in policing its sellers. The company has tools to prevent abuse, but there’s no guarantee those tools will be used in time to save customers from grief.