Long story short: Ebay recently announced a on its online marketplace.
This policy, which was announced via email to sellers who have listed or are currently listing items that fall into the adult category, amounts to a ban on most nudes, fetishwear, sexually explicit films, video games, and magazines, as well as hentai, some sex toys, and “other.”
Ebay’s reasoning for the change is vague to say the least, amounting to a one-sentence explanation in response to the prompt “Why does eBay have this policy?”
“We want to make adult items available to those who wish to purchase them and can do so legally, while preventing those who do not wish to view or purchase these items from easily accessing them.”
As a marketplace Ebay has the right to determine what can or cannot be sold on its domain, but that doesn’t make the specifics of this adult items ban any less bizarre. Some of the rules have nonsensical exceptions that make almost no sense if the intention is to keep adult items off the site, and the rest of them are simply worded incomprehensibly.
For example, adult magazines are banned except for Playboy, Playgirl, Penthouse, and Mayfair, for reasons the policy does not bother to explain. Nude art and photography is not entirely banned, but any listed nude art cannot “contain sexually suggestive poses or sexual acts,” which seems subjective and liable for uneven enforcement if past cases of or are taken into account.
There’s also a ban on “modeled clothing that is see-through or very tight and shows human genitalia, the anus, or the nipple/areola of female breasts,” which raises the question if the clothes themselves are banned from sale or if simply modeling them with a visible butthole or two is grounds for listing removal. It’s also now against policy to ship sex toys internationally, but pre-approved sellers can hawk them within their country of origin. If anyone knows what Adults Only music sounds like, that’s banned too.
An Ebay spokesperson told Motherboard that the new policy, which goes into effect on June 15, 2021, is a safety measure. But the statement provided by the spokesperson just offers some details about what the site will look like once the policy goes into effect.
The consequences for violating this new ban on adult items ranges from de-listing of the specific item to account suspension. Just going on how many loopholes and subjective judgements appear from a first pass on these rules suggests that Ebay will have a fascinating job ahead of them enforcing this. For now, if you’ve been raking in the cash selling custom nipple clamps, vintage porn, and assless chaps on Ebay, you might want to reconsider your choice of marketplace.
Mashable has reached out to Ebay for further clarification on this decision and the apparent grey area cases that the policy-as-written doesn’t address.