Lazada and Shopee merchants found promoting products with lewd imagery

While Lazada and Shopee have grown in prominence across Singapore, earlier this week merchants on the eCommerce platforms were caught promoting products such as binoculars and spy cameras with images of unknowing women being watched, insinuating that the products could be used to spy on females in their own homes or far away on a beach. A quick check by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE also saw that there were also listings that promoted similar products using lewd images of the female anatomy. 

The images surfaced despite both Lazada and Shopee having strict guidelines asking sellers not to list illegal products, products meant for illicit purposes, or those that contain obscene, profanity, or sexual imagery. In response to MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, a spokesperson from Lazada said that sellers are expected to adhere to these policies, and any sellers whose product listings are found to contravene its policies will be removed from the platform. Lazada's spokesperson also said that it actively monitors for errant listings, and encourage users to report them so that together, to help maintain a safe and secure online shopping environment for all. 

A check by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE showed that several of these listing have since been removed. 

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Meanwhile, a spokesperson from Shopee also said it has a "zero-tolerance approach towards errant and offensive listings", and will not hesitate to take appropriate action against sellers who do not abide by its stipulated guidelines. It has since reached out to the relevant sellers to issue a warning and, also removed the non-compliant images on the affected listings. 

"Shopee has in place robust measures to ensure that listings are regularly screened. This includes both manual and automated screening processes. At the same time, we issue clear and detailed guidelines to educate our sellers on best practices when listing on the Shopee platform. These guidelines are regularly reviewed and updated, and all sellers can easily access this via the Shopee Help Centre and Seller Education Hub, should they need clarification," the spokesperson said. The spokesperson also added that  the platform works closely with its sellers, brand partners and users to ensure that items sold on Shopee adhere to its policies and guidelines. 

Shopee also encourages users to reach out if they encounter similar listings on our platform via its "Report this Product" option through the menu circle at the top right-hand corner of any product listing. "The well-being of our community of users, sellers, and brand partners remains Shopee’s top priority, as we continue to strive towards delivering all our users with safe, hassle-free, and memorable shopping experiences," the spokesperson said. Similar to Lazada, Shopee's listings have either been removed or its item image has been replaced.

Over the past year eCommerce has seen an immense boom in the region. With many countries in lockdown last year, eCommerce sales reached an all time high of 16.4% of total global retail sales. According to a global survey across 11 markets by Shopify, 84% of consumers shopped online during the pandemic. But the cracks on the platform remain. Last year, eCommerce platforms made multiple headlines as it was identified as the main platform where consumers in Singapore were scammed. According to the Singapore Police Force, at least SG$41.3 million were lost to scammers in the first three months this year. Among them, eCommerce scams ranked first with 1,159 cases, which was 116.2% increase when compared to the same period in 2019.

Additionally, the platforms were also thrusted into the spotlight when scalpers flocked to the platforms to sell products that are high in demand at exorbitant prices. One such incident was when ticket sales for the blockbuster movie Avengers: Endgame commenced, where consumers were found reselling tickets on Carousell for above SG$100 per ticket. 

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