Anatomically correct baby dolls that are meant to offer a dose of realism for educational purposes have shown up as sex toys in Amazon searches, according to a report from the New York Post on Sunday.
These lifelike dolls sold by Rifi, have gained popularity in recent years among parents who are trying to take a progressive approach in parenting, according to the Post.
“Children would think it strange for it to have anything less,” one mother wrote in a five-star review of an anatomically correct doll sold by Rifi. “We don't believe in having children feel that private parts are taboo. They dress and undress them and love them to pieces."
However, the Rifi girl doll was associated with sex toy searches that skewed Amazon’s algorithm enough to show the children’s toy as a related item, according to the Post. The problem has persisted as far back as 2017, according to one disgusted reviewer the Post highlighted: “The fact that it’s showing in the adult sex toys is very appalling.”
By Monday, Rifi’s listing had been scrubbed clean of all references to the adult industry in its customer review and question sections.
E-commerce experts have confirmed that the upsetting juxtaposition was driven by customer search queries.
“Enough people who were looking for sex products ended up buying these products,” James Thomson of Buy Box Experts, a consulting firm to Amazon sellers told The Post. He added that Amazon has the ability to deactivate sex toy listings from appearing in children’s toy listings.
As of Sunday, The Post reported that several anatomically correct dolls continued to appear alongside adult listings, including a $229 Women’s Torso Doll for Men and a $1,299 Realistic Real Life Love silicone doll.
The publication also noted that the kid-friendly sellers impacted by the algorithm snafu have sought out assistance in correcting the issue, but not much was done when they aired their grievances with Amazon.
Amazon seller Vollence shared a response it got from the e-commerce site on Dec. 30 with The Post, which stated: “Please note that there is no human intervention in how the search results appear for any particular product and we do not own control over it, as it is solely dependent on the automated system.”
An Amazon spokesperson told FOX Business that the issue had been investigated and that these anatomically correct dolls should no longer appear in sex toy shopping results.
At the time of this article, much has been cleaned up on Amazon’s site, though the toy mix-up still appears when searching the term “adult doll,” which turns up both children’s and adult toys on the same page.