Trade Me apologizes for promoting Mein Kampf as a Christmas present

Trade Me apologizes for promoting Mein Kampf as a Christmas present

An algorithmic error has once again led to New Zealand’s biggest shopping website accidentally promoting Nazi paraphernalia.

Trade Me has apologized after promoting Mein Kampf as a Christmas gift idea on social media. An Auckland Instagram user saw the post in their feed last night, which featured several gift options, including the 1925 autobiographical manifesto written by Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler.

“Mein Kampf,” the caption began. “Find the perfect gift and get them what they really want this Christmas!” The Spinoff understands that the now-deleted Instagram carousel also included go-karts and exercise equipment, and was online for at least seven minutes.

“My first reaction was that it must have been a fake account or something similar to the ‘official’ Twitters we’ve seen pop up,” the Instagram user told The Spinoff. “Or maybe the account got hacked…but then I checked it and it was real.”

Sally Feinson, director of brand, marketing and communications for Trade Me, has apologized for the post, explaining that it was caused by an algorithmic error. “We hate to see anyone have a bad experience with us and we are truly sorry that this happened”

“With this type of ad, our team creates a marketing template and listings are automatically pulled through via an algorithm. We did not individually select this book to appear in this ad. While these ads are usually a good and relevant marketing tool, they don’t always get it correct.”

Earlier this week, the Trade Me account posted an apology after the algorithm recommended a shrinkable emergency urinal. The clip featured the caption “POV: facebook’s dynamic ad algorithm doing you the dirty…” with the hashtags #algorithm #fail #digitalmarketing.

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In July, Stuff reported that a Trade Me user was “horrified” by a portrait of Adolf Hitler was promoted of the site in its ‘$1 reserve auction’ special offer. After emailing Trade Me to complain, the user received an automated email promoting a book about the 1936 Olympic Games, the cover of which featured a swastika and the emblem of the Third Reich.

“The fact that Trade Me not only hosts it, but promotes it and profits from it is sickening,” the user told Stuff. Members of the Jewish community raised concerns at the time about how Trade Me’s algorithms could lead New Zealanders down a dangerous rabbit hole.

Feinson said Trade Me’s policy on material of this nature remains clear: “Books containing information about Nazi figures or the Holocaust may only be listed where they contain information that informs the reader of its historical context.”

There are currently six copies of Mein Kampf listed on Trade Me, five listings for Adolf Hitler stamps and 51 results for the search term “Nazis”.

Regarding the promotion of this material, Trade Me has assured users that this type of material will not reappear in their social media feeds. “We have spoken with our team and put measures in place to prevent this from happening again,” Feinson said.

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