eBay Is Banning Hentai and Other Adult Content

The e-commerce giant will no longer permit the sale of “sexually-oriented” content.
May 14, 2021, 5:17pm
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Image: Richard Derk/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

eBay has announced that it will be closing the site’s “adult-only” section and banning the sale of most adult content and items, Adult Video News first reported Thursday

In a new “Adult Items Policy” posted on eBay’s website, the e-commerce giant stated that “sexually-oriented” content including sexually explicit films, anime, and books would no longer be allowed on the platform. Furthermore, any items containing nudity will also be prohibited, and even modeled clothing that “is see-through or very tight and shows human genitalia, the anus, or the nipple/areola of female breasts” are a no-go. 

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In a statement to Motherboard, an eBay spokesperson said the move was in the interest of safety. 

“eBay is committed to maintaining a safe and trusted marketplace,” the spokesperson wrote. “Starting June 15, 2021, items showing sexual content or sexually suggestive poses will no longer be allowed on eBay.com. The “Everything Else > Adult Only” will no longer be available as a category. No new listings will be allowed in the Adult Only category and good-til-cancelled listings will be ended upon their renewal date.

There are a few exceptions however. The sale of sex toys will continue to be allowed by “pre-approved sellers” and only if they are new and in their original packaging. Meanwhile, non-sexually explicit nude art will also be permitted. 

As AVN pointed out, eBay interestingly also makes an explicit exception for the Playboy, Playgirl, Mayfair, and Penthouse magazines, which are popular among collectors. 

The move is sure to be a blow to many sellers on eBay. The site is a popular place for the buying and selling of vintage porngraphy, for example, as well as erotic fiction. 

eBay did not respond to a Motherboard’s inquiry regarding the motivation behind the change. At the bottom of the new policy, the company writes: “[w]e 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.” 

It seems that there could’ve been a number of other ways of preventing people from seeing sexually-explicit content that don’t involve a blanket ban. 

The change comes at a time where platforms like Facebook and Instagram continue to tighten rules regarding sexual content and nudity. Last year, new guidelines implemented by Instagram meant that sex workers would no longer be allowed to advertise on the site.

It’s striking that eBay feels the need to police sexual content when a number of questionable products—such as Nazi SS uniforms and anti-vax t-shirts—remain on the site.