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Google and Amazon say they have removed gun-related shopping results that shouldn't have been there at all

Posted at 9:41 AM, Aug 07, 2019

Days after a pair of deadly mass shootings that killed more than 30 people, Google and Amazon acknowledged Tuesday that their shopping platforms had recently hosted offers for firearms-related products in violation of their own company policies.

Ammunition or magazines could readily be found on the sites as recently as Monday, according to The Washington Post , which first reported the discovery.

Both companies said they removed the listings when they were alerted to their existence. In the case of Amazon, the Post cited a single listing for a Butler Creek 25-round magazine. On Google's platform, the Post found offers for shotgun shells and hollow-point ammunition, along with shopping results for magazines.

"All sellers are required to follow our selling guidelines and those who do not will be subject to action, including potential removal of their account," said Amazon in a statement. The company declined to say whether it had actually banned the third-party seller responsible for the listing.

Google spokesperson Caroline Klapper-Matos said the company is "working to prevent these instances from reoccurring."

"Our hearts go out to the victims of gun violence," Klapper-Matos said. "The sale of weapons, guns, and certain gun parts is strictly prohibited on Google Shopping."

This is not the first time tech platforms have come under the spotlight over firearm-related transactions. In 2016, for example, a BuzzFeed reporter arranged a private gun sale over Facebook, despite the company's existing ban against such activities. Gun accessories have also been known to appear on the crafts site Etsy.

Google has banned the listing of guns and related products from Google Shopping since at least 2012. The company support website for merchants also spells out the company's policy — though it does allow for the sale of safety accessories like trigger locks.

Amazon's policies, meanwhile, clearly state that sales of firearms and ammunition are prohibited. But the company allows for listings of scopes — including night vision optics — and laser sights, as well as rail mounts designed to accommodate grips, flashlights and other tactical devices.