Etsy Seller Says Inappropriate Video Added To Listing Without Her Knowledge Or Consent

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


Etsy seller "Babyjewlz" took to the community seeking help from other sellers when she noticed an inappropriate video had been attached to one of her listings without her knowledge or consent, revealing a possibly serious vulnerability in Etsy's systems.

Inappropriate video somehow replaced my listing item video
I updated a listing today including the video and I know the video was correct and not a vulgar one. When I recently clicked on the item and video it showed a completely different video that was inappropriate for my shop items. No, I do not have the inappropriate video on my phone. It’s not my video…

I updated a listing today including the video and I know the video was correct and not a vulgar one. When I recently clicked on the item and video it showed a completely different video that was inappropriate for my shop items.

No, I do not have the inappropriate video on my phone. It's not my video. Has anyone else had this happen? I don't know if it's a hack on my iphone or a hack on Etsy. I upload the videos from my phone to my listings. I am not tech savvy so have no idea what happened...

...The video that was there momentarily was of a girl on a bed in a bra and panties moving her hands all over herself. Not something I would ever post or even have on my phone.

She also discovered another listing video had been corrupted, and while the content was not objectionable, it did show a completely different item that is not hers or anything she has ever had listed in her shop.

Now one of my top listings on my shop's homepage is showing a different video than what should be there. It's not something I uploaded today either. One of the bee lockets is showing a bowl of gemstone rocks instead of my locket. What the heck is going on?

One seller was able to track back that gemstone video to another seller on the platform who is located in a different country, which would tend to bolster the idea this is an issue with Etsy getting wires crossed and mixing up which files are supposed to be attached to which listings rather than this specific user having her account or phone hacked or compromised in some way by bad actors.

When you take a screenshot of the video and then do a search with Google lens you can find the seller of the bowl of crystals. They are in a different country from the OP. I wonder if they have noticed anything strange on their listing videos too

Others chimed in to say they have seen other reports of similar "glitches" and the most likely explanation is a caching issue on Etsy's side or something to do with how Etsy handles file names for user uploaded videos.

Someone upthread mentioned videos are named differently to photos (which Etsy renames when you upload them). I checked my videos and they keep the filename you gave them (or that they were given by default by your system). Then 6 characters are added to the end of the filename to make them unique.

I imagine what may have happened in your case is your video filename was the same generic one as someone else's video and for some reason the bit added to the end to make it unique didn't work properly (wasn't added, or duplicated another one).

I shall certainly be changing the filenames of any videos before uploading in the future. I do that already for the photos (for my own purpose as they get changed by Etsy anyway), but trying videos out is a new thing for me and I have a different process for them and didn't realise Etsy doesn't change the filename.

Etsy has increasingly come under fire in the last year for allowing illegal, counterfeit or policy violating goods to flood the marketplace, leading to changes in the enforcement of Etsy's handmade policy which legitimate sellers worry could harm their businesses if not implemented and executed well - which we saw when a technical glitch took down visibility of many best selling items in error during a "routine sweep" earlier this month.

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Unfortunately, the bot dragnet often gets it wrong, harming legitimate sellers while allowing bad actors to remain, as clearly indicated by troubling reports that AI-generated celebrity deep-fake porn was not just allowed for sale on the site, but actively promoted by the company's recommendation and related searches features.

Etsy has also been battling a massive wave of spam and scams targeting users with fake support links and other fraud attempts for months, leading to changes to how communication from Etsy appears in a user's messaging inbox as well as limiting access to the API for certain 3rd party applications and plans to cut off public visibility to most of the Etsy community forums.

Unfortunately, not only have the scams not stopped, Etsy's efforts to combat them often interrupt legitimate buyer and seller interactions on the platform, making it harder for real users to transact on the site.

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The problem has gotten so bad, some users are starting to wonder if Etsy has much larger cybersecurity and safety issues than they are currently letting on.

Those questions and concerns would appear not to be unfounded as page 76 of Etsy's 10-K annual report filed with the SEC today includes a new section on "Cybersecurity Risk Management and Strategy" and reveals that the Board of Directors established a Risk Oversight Committee in December 2023.

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Whether it is a caching issue, programming error related to file names, or something else. having unauthorized images or videos show up in listings is a huge breach of seller trust and could lead to negative buyer experiences as well.

Etsy needs to take immediate steps to address some of the serious issues facing the company - including counterfeit and illegal or policy violating items, scams targeting buyers and sellers using the platform, and cybersecurity and information security concerns before the brand reputation damage reaches the point of no return.

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Liz Morton is a seasoned ecommerce pro with 17 years of online marketplace sales experience, providing commentary, analysis & news about eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Shopify & more at Value Added Resource!

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