Burk sent in a link to this image and the related story from firedoglake.com. This is a screenshot of Amazon’s listing for a Barack Obama mask, which came up if you searched “terrorist costume.”
A comment posted by a reviewer on Amazon:
Someone at Amazon needs a serious smack upside the head. OMG when submitting this review, here are the Amazon Tag Suggestions they provided for me: Tag Suggestions (click to add): obama, barack, liar, socialist, costume, dignity, terrorist, creep, marxist
I am sure the computer generates recommended tags based on some statistical analysis of what past reviewers have used in association with Obama’s name, so it’s not an indication that Amazon advocates those particular tags, but still…geesh.
Apparently Amazon has now changed the listing. Now when you search “terrorist costume” it says,
Your search ‘terrorist costume’ did not match any products in: Apparel. Related Searches: arab costume, terrorist.
Ok…so, um, they fixed one problem, but, uh…
UPDATE: In a comment, withoutscene pointed out that now if you search “terrorist costume,” Amazon brings up a McCain mask 3rd (when I searched the term earlier under the “Apparel” section, as opposed to the general Amazon toolbar, the McCain mask wasn’t there, but now it shows up there too, so I don’t know what’s up with that). The only tag associated with the mask is the word “mccain.” However, there are tons of both McCain and Obama masks, so I suppose if I looked through them all, I could probably find both positive and negative tags associated with both. My brief perusal of them seemed to indicate that Obama got more negative and positive tags (“leader,” “wingnut”) whereas McCain’s were pretty neutral (“mccain,” “costume”).
And Jane clarifies how things get tagged:
Tags are added by users, not generated by searches or Amazon employees. I have seen this feature used for hijinks before. They even have a help section titled “What tags shouldn’t I use?”.