eBay, following criticism and complaint in the US has changed its user policy to reduce the use of racially offensive terms in its Internet auction listings.

From now on racially offensive words may only be used if they are part of a book, film or other product title. eBay notes that some racially derogatory terms are in the names of some books and CDs by black authors and artists.

Users who attempt to use the offending terms will see a pop-up notice informing them of the new policy.

The terms in full:

Racially or Ethnically Offensive Historical Items and Reproductions

Accordingly, listings that are racially or ethnically offensive are not permitted on eBay. eBay and its community of users will not tolerate such material.

Occasionally, there may be listings of antiques or historical pieces (often referred to as "Black Americana") that, while unacceptable in today's society, are relics of an era where racially inappropriate and insensitive products were widely available. While these items are offensive to eBay and its community, eBay recognizes that such historical items find their way into museums and private collections, and serve as important tools for education about the past.

eBay permits such listings of historical pieces, but at the request of community members, eBay will not permit listings of racial or ethnically inappropriate reproductions.

Further, when selling potentially offensive yet true historical pieces, sellers must ensure that the language in their listings shows appropriate sensitivity to those in the community that might view it. For example, sellers may not use offensive words and phrases such as "Jap" or "Nigger" in the title or description of their listing, even if that word is part of the proper name or trademark of the item. Sellers may, however, display an image of such historical items within their listing even if the offensive word is plainly visible within the historical item.