Amazon limits LGBTQ products in United Arab Emirates

According to a company document viewed by the New York Times, Amazon posted LGBTQ people and problem-related items and search results on the United Arab Emirates website on Monday after pressure from the United Arab Emirates government. It worked to limit.

According to the document, the Emiratis government has given Amazon to comply under the threat of penalties until Friday. It was not clear what those penalties would be. Homosexuality is a crime on Emirates and is punished with fines and imprisonment. according to To the State Department.

Amazon’s restrictions on products at Emirates represent a compromise that tech companies are willing to do business in restricted countries, even if they profess to stick to freedom of speech in their own country. Netflix held a show in Saudi Arabia and censored the scene in Vietnam. Apple has stored customer data on a server in China, despite privacy concerns. Last year, Google removed the Russian opposition leader app.

After being contacted by Emirates, Amazon had a restricted product team take steps to remove individual product lists, and the team managing the company’s search capabilities hid results for over 150 keywords.

The search terms covered were extensive. There is a wide range of items such as “lgbtq”, “pride”, “closeted gay”, and intentional product searches such as “transgender flag”, “queer brooch”, “lesbian chest binder”, “lgbtqi phone case”. Some are shown. When The Times tried the query on Tuesday and Wednesday, all of these terms returned “no results”.

The titles of some specific books have been blocked, such as “My Lesbian Experience Too Rusty” by Kabi Nagata. “Gender Queer: AMemoir” by Maia Kobabe. Roxane Gay’s “Bad Feminist”. All of these are available in print and digital format on Amazon’s website in the United States. (Mr. Gay contributes frequently to the Times.)

In a statement, Amazon spokeswoman Nicole Pampe said, “As a company, we continue to work on diversity, equity and inclusiveness, and we believe we need to protect the rights of LGBTQ + people. “. “Amazon stores around the world must also comply with local laws and regulations in the countries in which they operate.”

The Embassy of Emiratis in Washington did not respond to requests for comment.

Amazon entered Emirates in 2017 after spending $ 580 million to acquire, a Dubai-based e-commerce site known as Amazon in the Middle East. Two years later, we rebranded and added products from Amazon’s US operations. This year, we announced plans to open a new cluster of cloud computing data centers in Emirates.

Over the weekend, a pride parade in Amazon’s hometown of Seattle presented challenges to global companies trying to juggle many members.Amazon celebrates pride in many of its businesses, benefits same-sex partners, and promotes LGBTQ movies on its website, but the parade organizers was denied Thanks also to Amazon’s financial donations to politicians who oppose LGBTQ rights.

The company states that it makes political contributions even if it does not support all the positions that people and organizations may take.

At the parade, transgender employees marched under the hate speech flag on Amazon. This group opposes transgender and bans malicious expressions of the company on Amazon’s US website.

Amazon has typically avoided deleting sensitive or controversial books. “As a bookstore, we believe it is important to provide access to written language, including content that may be considered unfavorable,” the policy states.

The company recently policy To allow more discretion to remove “offensive” content, and Said Last year, I planned to remove a book that treated transgender and other sexual identities as a mental illness.

Emirates is one of several countries where Amazon had to deal with censorship requests.

Reuters Report last year Under pressure from the Chinese government, Amazon has removed all customer ratings and comments on President Xi Jinping’s speeches and writing books. The company recently closed its Kindle store in China, denying it because of censorship concerns. Amazon’s cloud computing division makes it difficult to circumvent censorship in China, Russia Previously, the workaround you were using was banned.

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