Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu Dec 6 2018 22:41:49

Hijacked Amazon Images: A Political Statement?

By: Ina Steiner

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Photos in some listings on Amazon are displaying a Guy Fawkes mask instead of the product. A seller noticed the image showing up in some listings for supplements.

There's no evidence the incident is related to the objections some Amazon employees have to the company's facial recognition technology, which it markets to government and law enforcement. 

However, the image is suggestive of a political motivation being behind the incident, having been used by activists in recent years, most notably Anonymous.

The incident also comes a day after the South Park television program featured the company in a blistering satire.

Sellers discussing the issue believe Amazon may have been hacked. But Amazon allows vetted sellers to upload images to its catalog.

We've sent an inquiry to Amazon to learn more. Here's one of the listings that is displaying the mask instead of the product this evening.

We found one such listing on a search for diet supplements on page 7 of search results - note that when we clicked through, it showed the product images, indicating Amazon may be already working to fix the problem.



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Readers Comments

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This user has validated their user name. by: Bill

Thu Dec 6 23:48:30 2018

Ina,

Yes, the listing you linked to has been changed also.
Was it David who did the hack?  LOL

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri Dec 7 06:25:27 2018

Maybe the creepy mask comes with the weight loss supplements so that one can hide their gaunt emaciated face after a few months.

In all seriousness, how far will some of these companies go peddling data and personal information?  I still can't believe someone would allow Alexa into their homes.  They'd be outraged if someone wire tapped their homes but they allow a listening device by a company who is supposedly marketing facial recognition to government and law enforcement.  And this is only what we know about.

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by: Grady This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 7 09:01:06 2018

In America, you go home after a hard day and listen to the radio.
In Soviet Union, you go home and the radio listens to you.
In modern America, Alexa listens to you

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This user has validated their user name. by: David Steiner

Fri Dec 7 11:24:25 2018

Bill, I can't imagine what you're referring to. ;-)

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Fri Dec 7 14:04:41 2018

Maybe they're just fans of V for Vendetta.

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by: Troy Stiffler This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 7 16:11:11 2018

I doubt its political. More likely some dirtbag company hired to sabotage competitor listings. Sabotaging accounts (via returns, fake intellectual property complaints, feedback manipulation, review manipulation) is very common and a big problem for Amazon third party sellers.

It gets really bad when you're in the private labeling business. It's so cut-throat, I don't know how anyone does it. Other than the old small business model of investing your life savings and losing it all.

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by: Grady This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 7 17:25:09 2018

A bunch of my merchandise shows as "Out of stock" but it's not even close to running low. Unless Amazon used to fill their own orders. It wouldn't be the first time. Manage Inventory page shows accurate but when I looked at a few of my items from the Doctor's office, it shows as OOS temporarily. Quite a few of them do.

This is getting old

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by: Grady This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 7 17:26:39 2018

Now I really want to see this TV show they are referencing that showed Amazon in a negative light.

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by: SellerGirl This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 10 06:09:10 2018

''I still can't believe someone would allow Alexa into their homes.''

I agree.  My sil has one and it's utterly stupid when I ask it a two part question (''What time is it in Milan and when does the game start?'') or a complex command (''Alexa, announce the time on the hour starting next Tuesday and continue until you are told to stop.'')   In fact, she doesn't use it at all, it just sits on a desk drinking in everything that is said and done in the house (open plan, only the bedrooms and bathrooms have doors).  I've asked her where all that data goes and who is using it and she just looks at my like I am paranoid.

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by: Grady This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 11 13:40:57 2018

I found that South Park episode and it's not my cup of kvass at all but it was very well done and certainly sounded an alarm. It's both funny and sad (as the guy delivers my brake pads and salad dressing at 8pm).



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