Yahoo Bans Racist Items From Auctions, Introduces Sliding Fee

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Anti-racism groups claimed victory yesterday after Yahoo said that it would begin to ban online auctions featuring Nazi memorabilia, Ku Klux Klan items and other hate material.

Yahoo, Santa Clara, CA, which was sued by two French anti-racist organizations in April for displaying and selling so-called racist material, announced on Tuesday that beginning Jan. 10 it would ban commerce on Nazi medals, concentration camp uniforms and Nazi-related documents, among other items.

The company also announced the launch of a monitoring program to identify such items and enforce the tougher policies. The program will include a new technology designed to screen hate items, in addition to representatives who will manually monitor the site, the company said.

The move comes two months after a judge backed lawsuits by the Union of French Jewish Students and the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism and ordered the Internet portal to implement a filtering system to block "racist" items from French users or face $13,000 per day in fines.

Representatives from both human rights organizations said the ban on the hate materials vindicated their argument that so-called hate material should be banned from online auctions, according to news reports.

In addition to the ban on hate material, Yahoo introduced a sliding fee that will charge sellers anywhere from 20 cents to $2.25 -- depending on the value of the item -- for listing an auction item. The fee also will go into effect on Jan. 10, the company said.

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