Customers browsing Amazon will begin to see helpline phone numbers when they search for suicide-related keywords, the e-commerce company said.
Amazon Addresses Concerning Search Results
The new feature, which was announced on Thursday, Aug. 29, comes after the company received criticism after its U.S. marketplace showed suicide kits and nooses to customers who searched for the word "suicide." On its Indian website, search results included pesticides, sleeping pills, and a book titled "How To Commit Suicide."
After learning about the concerning products being sold on its platform, the company immediately took down the listings. Amazon prohibits the sale of non-media products that promote or glorify suicide.
According to Reuters, the new feature will inform customers that free and confidential support is available through the National Prevention Lifeline. Information about the suicide helpline will be added to the details page of certain products.
Over the years, social media sites have added similar features that direct consumers who may be considering to harm themselves to helplines. Instagram, for example, displays a message warning about graphic content and linking to platforms that offer mental help support to users who search for certain keywords.
Amazon will roll out the feature to customers who search for related keywords in the coming weeks. The helpline information will be added to relevant book product detail pages in the United States and United Kingdom starting next week.
Amazon Caught Selling Thousands Of Unsafe Products
This is not the first time that the trillion-dollar company landed in hot waters this month for selling harmful products. The Wall Street Journal, in a report this week, found over 4,000 items that are mislabeled, banned, or declared unsafe by federal agencies on the online shopping site.
In a statement, Amazon explained that merchants are required to comply with "relevant laws and regulations." The company also uses automated tools to detect unsafe products and employ a global team of compliance specialists to review safety documentations.
However, these efforts are not enough. Three Democratic Senators sent a letter addressed to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos urging him to take action and stop the sale of unsafe products.
"We call on you to immediately remove from the platform all the problematic products examined in the recent WSJ report; explain how you are going about this process; conduct a sweeping internal investigation of your enforcement and consumer safety policies; and institute changes that will continue to keep unsafe products off your platform," the senators wrote.