It’s not a question I’d ever given much thought to in the past. Sure there are certain restrictions on what you can list for example some products are prohibited to follow local laws (part used cosmetics in Germany), and the groundswell of public opinion (Concert for Diana tickets). Adult products are allowed on the eBay.com site but not on eBay.co.uk. I hear rumours it’s because policing the category is just too much work and retrospectively eBay wish they’d never allowed adult products on eBay.com rather than because they’re particularly prudish.
That’s just what you’re allowed to buy and sell on the site however, the question runs deeper than that. Should eBay control deeply held personal beliefs, convictions and make decisions on your morals? According to Life Decisions International (LDI) that’s exactly what they should do. LDI are calling for a boycott of eBay and PayPal because of “their support of Planned Parenthood, the world’s leading abortion-advocacy group”. LDI states it’s primary mission as “challenging the agenda of Planned Parenthood worldwide” and maintains a boycott list of companies it deems to support Planned Parenthood.
So what has eBay done to gain entry on the list? Well eBay has two programs to support charitable giving which have raised money for Planned Parenthood. The eBay Foundation enables eBay and PayPal employees to raise funds for their favoured charities with donations from the foundation to support the work. eBay Giving Works (known as eBay for Charity in the UK) enables eBay users to raise money for their favoured charities by donating proceeds from items sold on the site.
As soon as eBay start making judgement calls on which charities employees and the eBay community at large choose to support they are stepping into an area of your private life that goes beyond running a marketplace to enable commerce. Thankfully they do not do this and the criteria for a charity benefiting from fundraising is simply that – that they are a registered charity. eBay leave it to the individual to decide which causes they would like to support, and which causes they’d prefer not to.
That’s why LDI’s call for a boycott of eBay is wrong. It’s not about the right to life or the right to an abortion. It’s irrelevant whether you agree or disagree with their aims and objectives.
It’s about your freedom, your morals, your beliefs and quite frankly your right to live your life without eBay making judgements on your behalf.
Statement from eBay
eBay Inc. and the eBay Foundation support a wide range of charitable-giving activities on behalf of eBay and PayPal employees. The eBay Foundation is dedicated to administering these programs with a democratic approach that ensures employees are empowered and enabled to truly champion the charities that matter most to them, including Planned Parenthood.
In addition to our employee programs, eBay facilitates charitable giving through eBay Giving Works, our dedicated program for charity listings. eBay Giving Works enables our community in the U.S and U.K. (where the program is called eBay for Charity) to engage in compassionate commerce by directly donating proceeds from their eBay listings to the charities of their choice. eBay works with a 3rd party company to verify that organizations participating in eBay Giving Works are verified as 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations. To date, more than $100 million has been raised for charity from listings sold on eBay sites worldwide. Planned Parenthood is just one of more than 13,000 nonprofit organizations that participate in eBay Giving Works.
* eBay Inc. and the eBay Foundation support a wide range of charitable-giving activities on behalf of employees. eBay Inc.’s charitable-giving programs are designed to empower individual employees to nominate the charities they care about to receive grants from the eBay Foundation. This individual empowerment is what makes our programs particularly unique and rewarding for our employees.
* All grant nominations are reviewed and approved by a diverse committee of employees and do not necessarily represent the opinions of eBay Inc., the company. The eBay Foundation is dedicated to administering these programs with a democratic approach that ensures employees are empowered and enabled to truly champion the charities that matter most to them.
* In addition to matching employee donations and various grant programs, more than 13,000 nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and U.K use eBay Giving Works (or eBay for Charity) to raise funds. eBay Giving Works is eBay’s dedicated program for compassionate commerce on eBay. The program enables sellers to donate proceeds from their eBay listings directly to the causes they care about. eBay Giving Works also enables nonprofit organizations to raise funds directly through online charity auctions. Planned Parenthood is just one of more than 13,000 nonprofit organizations that use eBay Giving Works and to date the eBay Community has given more than $100 million dollars to a wide range of worthy causes.