- The Wall Street Journal published an investigation on Friday into Amazon‘s “struggle to police its site.” The report found that Amazon is allowing thousands of “banned, unsafe, or mislabeled” items to be sold on its marketplace.
- YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter similarly struggle to moderate content, illustrating the larger issue of tech platforms swelling to a size where current guidelines for oversight are no longer adequate.
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Amazon sells hundreds of millions of items on its online marketplace. With such a massive quantity of products, the question becomes: How does the company regulate what’s being sold?
The Wall Street Journal published an investigation on Friday into Amazon’s “struggle to police its site.” The Journal found over 4,000 items being sold on Amazon that the publication says were labeled deceptively, determined to be unsafe by federal agencies, or banned by federal regulators. Those items included: a children’s toy xylophone with four times the lead allowed by the federal government, knockoff magnetic children’s toys that can lead to internal damage if ingested, and a motorcycle helmet that was falsely listed as US Department of Transportation-certified.
“The challenge for Amazon is that what built the marketplace — it being so open and welcoming to new sellers — has also meant that today Amazon is really having a hard time enforcing many of its own rules, because it just physically cannot allocate enough human power to police many of these rules,” Juozas Kaziukenas, an e-commerce analyst, told the Journal.
That issue is mirrored at tech giants like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. These enormous, open tech platforms have struggled to weed through reams of problematic content, from Facebook posts calling for the genocide of the Rohingya minority Muslim group in Myanmar to YouTube videos calling survivors of mass shootings at US schools “crisis actors.”
Here are the issues tech giants like Amazon, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter are facing, and how they’re attempting to regulate their platforms.
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