Six sacked eBay employees charged with cyberstalking blogger

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Our hearts go out to our friends at a US blog which has been writing about eBay longer than Tamebay – They’ve been in the business since 1999 and over more than 20 years have done the same as us, which is to inform the marketplace community of news and, inconvenient though it might be, hold eBay to account when they disagreed with it’s strategy. None of this two decades of journalism deserved cyberstalking of the most despicable kind including sending multiple packages containing the most disgusting of things to them.

The blogger lived in Natick, Massachusetts and it won’t take a genius to work out who it is, although they were not named in the affidavit. I met them in the eBay Live Press Office and they were truly lovely and welcoming, especially as we were the upstart competition from across the pond and only just starting out.

The gist of the story is that six members of eBay’s global security team are alleged to have waged a vendetta against the blogger in the hope they would quit. That’s not how journalists work however and their blog never missed a beat. However inconvenient articles may have been, it’s inexcusable that everything from live spiders and cockroaches, a pig fetus and a pig mask, as well as a wreath and book on how to survive the loss of a spouse were sent to them and just for good measure pornography sent to their neighbours addresses but with their name on the package in an attempt to besmirch their reputation in the neighbourhood.

Even when investigated, the culprits cyberstalking this blogger are accused of having attempted to cover up their actions and even went so far as to offer their services to offer pretend help having ‘noticed’ the harassment in an attempt to appear to be the good guys.

There is no way to sugar coat these sickening acts of cyberstalking a fellow blogger and we are pleased to see the charges brought by the FBI and federal prosecutors in Boston, although as the District Attorney’s office points out the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

What we would like to point out however is that eBay had close to 13,300 employees and roughly 13,292 of them are sick to their stomachs in disbelief that any one working for eBay could act in this manner. They are good people and just as horrified and ashamed of the allegations against their former colleagues as you and I.

eBay was notified by law enforcement in August 2019 of suspicious actions by its security personnel toward the blogger. eBay immediately launched a comprehensive investigation, which was conducted with the assistance of outside legal counsel. An independent special committee was formed by eBay’s Board of Directors to oversee the Company’s investigation into the matter. eBay have stated that they terminated all involved employees, including the Company’s former Chief Communications Officer, in September 2019. Neither eBay as a company nor any current eBay employee was indicted.

“eBay took these allegations very seriously from the outset. Upon learning of them, eBay moved quickly to investigate thoroughly and take appropriate action. The Company cooperated fully and extensively with law enforcement authorities throughout the process. eBay does not tolerate this kind of behavior. eBay apologizes to the affected individuals and is sorry that they were subjected to this. eBay holds its employees to high standards of conduct and ethics and will continue to take appropriate action to ensure these standards are followed.”
– eBay investigating independent special committee

eBay’s statement adds a final paragraph regarding then CEO Devin Wenig (referred to as Executive 1 in the FBI affidavit) which we reproduce below without further comment:

“The Company noted that the internal investigation also examined what role, if any, the Company’s CEO at the time of the incident, Devin Wenig, may have had in this matter. The internal investigation found that, while Mr. Wenig’s communications were inappropriate, there was no evidence that he knew in advance about or authorized the actions that were later directed toward the blogger and her husband. However, as the Company previously announced, there were a number of considerations leading to his departure from the Company.”

6 Responses

  1. What is WRONG with people?? 😮

    I am very pleased to hear the blogger was undeterred and continued about their business. All these ’employees’ have served to do, is show why it is absolutely necessary to have an independent voice on these matters.

  2. I read about this on the news this morning. Could not actually believe it, am like seriously.
    It shows you the culture of the place and the sort that have running it the last few years from the top down.
    eBay really control and have power over thousands of small and medium enterprises and do need properly scrutinized, both for the good and the bad.

  3. You wonder if any of these people had anything to do with the slight change of email address registered for ebay payments that cost some sellers thousands of pounds.

  4. eBay sellers used to joke that upsetting or criticising a member of staff could seriously damage your business, because they could use corporate resources for private vendettas, and the corporate culture did not prevent or discourage this. But it was generally discussed in terms of one employee, not a conspiracy.

    I once had some eBay-related correspondence with a senior eBay employee. I regarded this as normal business. Until one message, which suggested that he regarded our interactions as constituting a personal favour on his part, which deserved reciprocal favours on mine. At the time, I dismissed it as one employee with inadequate professional boundaries. But perhaps this was in fact just the corporate culture.

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