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Etsy announces measures to crack down on sale of banned products on its platform

The funds will be used to enlarge the company’s content review team tenfold over the next few months.

FILE PHOTO: The Etsy Inc. application for download in the Apple Inc. App Store on a smartphone arranged in Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands, U.S., on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021  FILE PHOTO: The Etsy Inc. application for download in the Apple Inc. App Store on a smartphone arranged in Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands, U.S., on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021 
FILE PHOTO: The Etsy Inc. application for download in the Apple Inc. App Store on a smartphone arranged in Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands, U.S., on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021  (Bloomberg)

Global digital marketplace Etsy has been around for 15 years now. Like all online stores, it is also plagued by sellers who are trying to make a quick buck by selling banned items on the platform. The company has now reportedly decided to spend millions of dollars to tighten the enforcement of its terms after a recent report about listings for illegal products being sold.

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Earlier this week, the company took to its blog to announce that it will spend an amount of $40 million in order to expand its Trust & Safety Program, as first spotted by Gizmodo. The funds will be used to enlarge the company’s content review team tenfold over the next few months. It will also evolve its policies regarding weapons, hate or violent speech, mature content and luxury counterfeit items.

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Interestingly, the company also says it will introduce new product enhancements utilising new technologies like expanded auto-suppression and image recognition, while also adding the ability to block out some product listings in various regions on the basis of local laws and regulations.

Read more: Etsy stock jumps on praise from Elon Musk after he buys a gift for his dog

Etsy also said that it would release its annual Transparency Report for 2020, which would throw light on the company’s track record for policy enforcement, intellectual property takedowns, order issues and requests for member information or account action. 

According to Gizmodo, a recent investigation by Insider had revealed illegal products were listed on the platform including mummified puppy remains, brass knuckles, steel spiked clubs, preserved kitten foetuses poisonous plants, fake coronavirus remedies — even radioactive substances like uranium ore

The company says that last year, it received close to 4 million flags about products listed on the platform, which it says marked a 400 percent increase in products flagged in 2019. Out of the 4 million complaints, the company said that 80 percent were generated by its own internal systems.

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