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Amazon is the largest retailer in the world, but a majority of the sales on the site come from third-party sellers. Along with toasters and mops, the site’s a target for people trying to sell dangerous and illicit products.
There are rules: The company bans nearly 2,000 items for sale in the United States that fall into 31 broader categories, ranging from skin care products to assault weapons to human organs.
But Amazon’s filters don’t catch everything. An investigation by The Markup found nearly 100 banned products that slipped past Amazon.com’s safeguards. When we sent our findings to Amazon, most of the listings were removed.
“If products that are against our policies are found on our site, we immediately remove the listing, take action on the bad actor, and further improve our systems,” Amazon spokesperson Patrick Graham said.
The Markup’s Annie Gilbertson found that Amazon workers who monitor listings have only a few minutes to investigate each one. We’ve put together a list of six items we found for sale on Amazon. Can you tell which ones shouldn’t have been allowed, according to Amazon’s rules?
Read more on how banned items slipped past Amazon’s safeguards in our full investigation. Explore our methodology and how we reported this story here. And check out our story on how Amazon’s content moderation strategy compares with that of its peers.
Thumbs up icon by Arafat Uddin
Originally published as "Quiz: Can You Spot the Banned Amazon Item?" with the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license.