Update: Amazon, eBay, Etsy to remove Confederate flag merchandise

The changes come after last week's racially charged shooting in a South Carolina church

confederate flag hat

Merchandise bearing the Confederate flag, such as this baseball cap, will no longer be sold at e-commerce sites including Amazon, Etsy and eBay.

Credit: Flickr/Sam Howzit

Amazon, eBay, Etsy and Google Shopping have joined big retailers in removing Confederate flags and related items from their sites, in moves responding to increased vitriol over the symbol after a shooting last week at an African-American church in South Carolina.

EBay, in an announcement on Tuesday, said it would prohibit the sale of items containing the image of the Confederate flag, because it has become "a contemporary symbol of divisiveness and racism." The decision aligns with the company's longstanding policy that prohibits items that promote hatred, violence or racial intolerance, the company said.

Amazon will also pull Confederate flag merchandise from its site, a spokesman said. On Tuesday, Amazon displayed more than 28,000 results for a search for "confederate flag," including clothing, hats and cigarette lighters with the symbol.

Etsy, which operates a popular marketplace for handcrafted items, also said it would remove Confederate flag items from its site. The company's policies prohibit listings that promote or support hatred, and Confederate flag items would fall squarely into that category, a spokeswoman said.

Also on Tuesday, Google said it would remove Confederate flag merchandise from its Google Shopping service, which lets consumers shop for items offered by online retailers and compare prices. The company also said it would remove content containing the Confederate flag from its ads, because the company's ads policies don't allow content that's "generally perceived as expressing hate toward a particular group," a spokeswoman said.

Since the massacre last Wednesday, which left nine African-American churchgoers dead, images have circulated of the suspected shooter holding a gun and the Confederate flag.

The companies' changes come after many people have taken to social media to call for the Confederate flag to be removed from public places and store shelves.

Other major retailers have announced plans to remove Confederate flags and items bearing its symbol from their inventories.

Walmart, on Monday, said it would take steps to remove all items promoting the Confederate flag from its physical stores and its website. "We never want to offend anyone with the products that we offer," a Walmart spokesman said.

Sears Holdings, which owns the Sears and Kmart brands, said it was in the process of removing Confederate flag merchandise from its bricks-and-mortar and online stores and items sold by third-party merchants from its Sears Marketplace website. "This is a prudent step we take as we seek to avoid offending our members," a Sears Holdings spokesman said.

Confederate flag merchandise can also be found on Craigslist. The company did not immediately respond to say whether it would be changing its rules.

On Tuesday, South Carolina lawmakers agreed to have a debate on whether the flag should be removed from flying on the state's Capitol grounds. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has called on the state to remove the flag.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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