eBay bans Confederate Flags then promotes them

By Chris Dawson June 29, 2015 - 8:44 pm

Is Confederate Flag Southern Flag Patch Red  Blue White worth another lookI’ve just received an email from eBay with the title “Is Confederate Flag Southern Flag Patch, Red / Blue White stars worth another look, Chris?” That’s a bit of a surprise.

Just three days ago eBay put out an announcement saying “Effective immediately: “.

They went on to explain “We believe this image has become a contemporary symbol of divisiveness and racism. Our decision is consistent with our long-standing policy that prohibits the sale of items that promote or glorify hatred, violence and intolerance“.

eBay Confederate FlagThat’s why I’m a bit surprised to receive an email three day’s later saying “Chris, would you like to take another look” at a “Confederate Flag Southern Flag Patch, Red / Blue White stars”.

For the avoidance of doubt I looked at some confederate flags when researching an earlier post I wrote about the ban, not because I want to buy one – don’t worry I haven’t suddenly turned into a racist overnight. What’s surprising is that whilst eBay have been busily cancelling listings with the flag, they’ve forgotten to put a block on their marketing for the same (in eBay’s own words) divisive and racist symbols.

This is one of the things that we at Tamebay would love to see eBay getting better at, once the distraction of divorcing PayPal is complete. Doing half the job of banning the products is one thing, but promoting the same products to your customers after the ban just looks incompetent. It’s appears that no one remembered that eBay’s automated marketing would kick and ask eBay users if they’d like to reconsider making a purchase and that’s got to change.

Marketing should be relevant and up to date, otherwise what’s the point?

Updated 23:00hrs to add

eBay have been in touch to confirm that they do indeed apply filters to their emails and other marketing channels. Unfortunately there is still a risk that a prohibited item, especially one which they’ve recently taken action on, may get through. That’s what’s happened with the email that I received.

eBay tell us that they are in the process of removing listings and continue to update their filters across marketing tactics and would also like to remind readers that they can report listings as well by clicking on the “report item” link within the listing.

  • Ross
    4 years ago

    Only EBay could go to the trouble of telling you their system is not working properly.
    They would probably have been better confirming that they hadn’t updated it all yet.
    There is also the possibility that they are continuing to market products thinking that anyone receiving the email would possibly want to buy one last time before they all disappear.

    • 4 years ago

      To be fair to eBay the product has been removed so I can’t buy it now even if I wanted to. I don’t think they’re that worried about the fees on £2.75 🙂

  • 4 years ago

    This is a pie crust ban.

    I just searched for Confederate flag on

    Here’s one example of what I found and it is not unusual:

    31 sold. Not a new listing.

    • Roger
      4 years ago

      . . . and 969 still available too!

      I found this listing too researching how effective any ban had become, I reported it (sorry seller) and then put it in my watch list.

      Let’s wait then . . .

  • Martin
    4 years ago

    “Items depicting the confederate battle flag” – does this also apply to historical books about the American Civil War, or what about those hugely popular, even today, Dukes of Hazzard model cars? Is the General Lee now banned? Yee-ha, not.

    • Roger
      4 years ago

      Yes, this is a very contentious issue, especially as US citizens love their flags, their National Anthem is about one. As a history buff and an ex-re-enactor I would not want honest people to be unable to use this flag in a “historical setting”.

      However, I applaud eBay for their action in banning it on the grounds of race hatred, I think that is using their international position sensibly.

      Remember this flag was never anything other than the typical “national flag” in General lee’s Army of Northern Virginia – though it was cut from the second version of the Confederate National flag – so it doesn’t have a rightful place to fulfil in today’s society. I do believe it’s use is all too frequently used for the wrong deeds.

      But, how far are eBay going to go? How about this listing?×5-Confederate-battle-MS-/271916647813?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3f4f7ec585 Will they ban this legal state flag too? The seller does put the words “Confederate battle” in the title?

      Reported that one and added it to my watch list to see.

    • 4 years ago

      Yep, diecast models of the General Lee are effectively banned now! Warner Bros have also said they won’t license any new General Lee miniatures and won’t allow any even without the flag!

  • JD
    4 years ago

    A flag never killed anyone. US should try controlling guns.

    • james
      4 years ago


      literally speaking; flags have been the primary or sole cause of death in several reported cases.

      figuratively; flags are responsible for killing nearly as many people as books. and thats a lot.

    • james
      4 years ago

      lol, i tried to find an example, and got something else entirely:

    • tinker
      4 years ago

      by that skewed logic guns never killed anyone its the human that pulled the trigger that kills

    • JD
      4 years ago

      So we have flags, guns and humans.
      And we get rid of the flags when getting rid of either of the other 2 would solve the problem.

    • tinker
      4 years ago

      humans is the key either one can’t kill without one,
      if removing the focus of that flag saves suffering
      why not, ?,

    • james
      4 years ago

      i love flags. flags arent the problem, but to say a flag never killed anyone is simply incorrect, as i pointed out.

      the whole flag debate is to draw attention away from gun control, we all know that. but since theres a debate, i’ll chime in on it.

      if you asked the flags or the guns they’d both agree that humans are the problem.
      as humans our opinion is biased so we blame everything else, and getting rid of humans isnt really the best solution to humanities many and varied issues in any case.

      getting rid of the flag doesnt get rid of the focus either. they will find another symbol to focus on; not that they’re lacking in symbolism already. infact it probably galvanises them to feel they’re the victims here.

      getting rid of guns would by-and-large solve the problem of shootings. we dont get as many here in the UK, because nobody has guns.

      however the americans really like their guns, and dont want to get rid of them, so they blame flags (this time) instead.

      they also love their freedom of speech, or so they claim, then clamber to silence anyone who says something their mob mentality disagrees with. such as, wearing a badge saying “i’m a racist”, or even owning a flag thats sometimes considered racist under certain lights.
      – remember, even if something is illegal, saying you did/are/want it isnt – thats just a part of freedom of speech.

    • Tinker
      4 years ago

      To put it into context is it ok to sell an Islamic state flag ??????

  • james
    4 years ago

    ebay on ebay …. “occasionally things slip through the net, or go wrong, and we try to fix them when we can”.

    ebay on sellers… “you couldnt satisy 100% of the people 100% of the time? you’re filth and deserve punished.”

  • John Pemberton
    4 years ago

    Damm I wanted one of them!

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