Etsy Invests Over $40 Million To Crack Down On Banned Items

Etsy has found itself at the front of an investigation by Insider that identified over 800 listings that violated Etsy’s prohibited items policies. Among the products identified were pet remains, pornographic material, weapons, and a host of mass-produced products being passed off as handmade items.

Insider also reported that of the 800 listings there were dozens that allegedly included Ivory which is largely banned around the world. Other listings in breach of the prohibited items policy included;

  • Mummified animal remains
  • Brass knuckles
  • Poisonous Plants
  • Uranium Ore
  • Drug Paraphernalia
  • Fake Covid-19 remedies
  • “Magic Spells”
  • and more

After an incredible year for Etsy where they experienced huge growth partly due to the pandemic, it appears that these issues could be a form of growing pains, where some listings have managed to slip through the net.

Etsy Pledge To Fix The Problem

When Insider presented the results of their investigation to Etsy they reacted immediately by taking down the 800+ listings that had been identified.

They then later published a blog post where they pledged over $40 Million to invest in fixing this issue.

“Our goal is to remain a trusted brand and a platform where our sellers’ creativity and the special items they make continue to shine and are easily discoverable to buyers. That’s why our need for sophisticated tools and resources to better protect the integrity of our marketplace only grows as Etsy gets bigger. 

In 2021, we are investing at least $40 million to further expand our Trust & Safety Program in order to:

– Expand the coverage of our content review teams tenfold (10x) by the end of 2021.

– Evolve our policies and continue to target key categories like weapons, hate or violent speech, mature content, and luxury counterfeit items.

– Introduce product enhancements, including expanded auto-suppression, image recognition, and the ability to suppress listings geographically based on local requirements. 

Etsy’s mission is to keep commerce human, and this mission extends to the work of our diligent Trust & Safety team. So while we intend to leverage technology to assist in our enforcement efforts, we believe content moderation at Etsy will never be fully automated – that is not our goal. Rather, we will continue to leverage a combination of automated monitoring systems and human review to detect potential policy violations.”

Corinne Pavlovic, Head of Trust & Safety, Etsy

Banned items have been something that every marketplace has struggled with in one way or another over the years. Etsy have taken swift action to remedy this problem and hopefully they will be able to eliminate the majority of these problems in the future.

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