I’m writing to let you know about some policy changes we are making at Etsy — specifically disallowing items that denigrate people or promote hate — and to explain why we are making them.
A few items listed in a couple of Etsy shops recently sparked an intense debate about what kinds of items should and shouldn’t be allowed on Etsy. I won’t go into the details of the items, but they clearly denigrated women and people with some disabilities. When some concerned members brought the items to our attention, we generally agreed that they didn’t feel like they were in the spirit of Etsy and our community. But they also didn’t directly violate our policies. So we did what we felt was right. We allowed the items to remain on Etsy and we took a cold, hard look at our policies.
Our policies have prohibited disparaging or promoting hate against people based on race or religion for quite a long time. But they never covered gender, people with disabilities, or sexual orientation. We are changing that — and a few other policies — effective now.
We have posted our new policies in the Prohibited Items section of our DOs & DON’Ts on Etsy.
For those of you who don’t want to read the full text of the policies, I’ll summarize the big changes. We no longer allow items or listings that promote, support or glorify hatred toward or otherwise demean people based upon race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, disability, or sexual orientation; including items or content that promote organizations with such views.
We also looked at our policies around violence and illegal activity and we have revised those, too. The revised policy now prohibits items or listings that promote or support illegal activity or instruct others to engage in illegal activity and items or listings that promote, support or glorify acts of violence or harm towards self or others.
If you are selling items that violate the new policies, we ask that you take them down. If you have questions about a particular item in your shop, you can contact us at email@example.com. We’ll be happy to help clarify.
We have always supported a broad range of perspectives at Etsy, even if we don’t always personally agree with the messages of our individual members. We will continue to do so. But we also want to recognize that tolerance and respect have to be part of the norms of our community. We feel that the kinds of items we are now prohibiting violated that spirit.
I’m sure that some of you will think that we are doing the right thing with these changes and others will disagree. I respect that. I’m reasonably new to the Etsy community, but it’s pretty clear to me that a healthy debate has always been part of Etsy’s history. However you feel, I hope you’ll understand that our goal is to make and keep Etsy an amazing marketplace and a community where we value tolerance and respect.
Thanks for listening.