Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, is known for lightning fast shipping and selling virtually anything online. While their corporate policy ostensibly prohibits it from selling pornography, Amazon.com features thousands of pornography-related items in numerous categories. Items for sale on Amazon include hardcore pornography films and magazines, books featuring collections of eroticized child nudity, sex dolls (many with childlike features), pornographic T-shirts, and much more. Their Kindle e-reader is riddled with sexually explicit content containing incest, babysitter, and group-sex themes. Amazon Prime produces highly sexualized television programming and provides no means for blocking unwanted recommendations for sexually explicit programs. Amazon Web Services is used to host pornography and prostitution websites.
There is no doubt that Amazon is one of the most powerful companies in the world, not only influencing global economic markets, but also greatly influencing the goods we buy, the media we consume, and businesses small and large. Many maintain that the elite “FANG,” the major four tech companies Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google, are dominating the world. As for Amazon’s part in this, its net sales revenue topped $135 billion in 2016. Forty-four percent of web shoppers go directly to Amazon for product searches. As a bookstore, Amazon has an estimated 3.4 million books for sale. Twenty-five million people use Amazon Instant Video and with their creation of original content, this is growing quickly. Amazon Web Services serves 1 million active businesses (not including the individuals that use their services), and is growing 81% year on year as the fastest growing provider among companies offering cloud-based storage. Sixty-eight percent of smartphone owners use an Amazon app.
Amazon has clearly revolutionized Internet sales and as they surge in growth, we call on them to stop dabbling in the business of sexual exploitation. While their policies tend to send the message that they will not allow exploitive pornographic content to be sold or hosted, some policies are contradictory, unclear, and not well enforced, making Amazon the world’s leading porn shop.
There is a growing trend for socially responsible businesses to reject profits from sexual exploitation and to fix policies that propagate the public health crisis from pornography (see here for a few examples). Join the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) as we call on Amazon to decide what kind of marketplace they want to be and to shift their business model from facilitating exploitation.
- Amazon’s Online Marketplace
Reports of hardcore pornography and sexually objectifying images showing up when innocent, unrelated searches for products are performed are increasing. Despite Amazon’s terms of service, they sell hardcore pornography magazines and films, as well as products like T-shirts and novelty items that depict nudity and blatant sexual acts. Amazon also sells more than 8,000 products for sexual torture. These materials tend to show up as recommended and sponsored related products even when users want nothing to do with this type of material. Many of these products qualify for Amazon’s Prime shipping rates.
- Amazon’s Kindle
While Amazon took strict measures to rid this popular e-book device of hardcore pornography and explicit erotica in previous years , thousands of self-published pornographic books are for sale and even included for free in the monthly subscription service KindleUnlimited. Searches by NCOSE yielded dozens of these books included in completely unrelated categories, and included themes of incest, child and teen, and rape. A search conducted by NCOSE of “Teen Books” yielded both e-books for toddler, as well as hardcore porn. Unfortunately, a 12-year-old girl did this same search.
- Amazon Web Services
Amazon provides across the board technology help for businesses, including serving as a secure place to host websites. NCOSE has noticed a trend growing within the porn industry with their industry and tech leaders advising small and start-up pornographers to use Amazon’s hosting services to manage their hardcore pornography and prostitution sites.
While Amazon’s generally strong policies are welcome and applauded, it appears that their focus is solely on growing the business, and not maintaining the values they set forth from the beginning. We urge Amazon to develop the necessary tools to make sure that they are not the go-to place for people to run their sexually exploitive business.
WARNING: The pornographic images taken from Amazon have been blurred, but are still suggestive. There is also graphic text descriptions shown in these sections. POSSIBLE TRIGGER.
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