A new gift giving feature described as “terrifying”
Amazon announced a new feature that allows Prime members to send items without having the recipient’s mailing address. All they need is their email address or phone number.
The donor must have a Prime account, but the recipient only needs a basic Amazon account, reports the Verge. If they don’t have an account, they are invited to create one. Recipients can also check what is sent before accepting it. If they agree, they can choose to receive an Amazon Gift Card instead of the item. The sender is not notified if he chooses this option.
The sender does not receive the physical address of the recipient.
Nonetheless, the new feature is already giving people scary vibes. The Verge noted: “…[T]it sounds like a bad idea that is ripe for abuse from scammers, stalkers, and those who enjoy harassing others online.
Vice News’s Arielle Duhaime-Ross noted that people cannot opt out. “Umm wtf NOPE”, Duhaime-Ross also tweeted. “It’s bad bad.”
Others had similar reactions.
“As a woman, it’s not terrifying at all,” a Twitter user commented sarcastically. Another said they were tracked down at the university. Their stalker, they wrote, eventually got their home address from someone they both knew and started bombarding them with unwanted gifts and correspondence.
“Maybe it’s because I’ve been harassed and my privacy violated by someone in a position of trust, but I see so many ways it could go wrong and provide opportunities for bad actors to continue. or intensify abusive behavior, ”they said. tweeted.
Amazon has announced plans to roll out the new Prime feature in the coming weeks. The service is limited to the continental United States and can only be used on mobile devices.
An Amazon spokesperson told The Daily Dot by email that the Verge story “caused some confusion.” They emphasized that gifts are only sent when recipients accept them and they expire or can be deleted at any time. “But any activity that violates our community guidelines (which includes sending unwanted gifts) would be investigated and the account processed, if necessary,” they added.
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* First published: Oct. 4, 2021, 12:42 p.m. CDT
Claire Goforth is an award-winning journalist who covers politics and justice from her home base in Jacksonville, Florida. His work has appeared in publications ranging from regional alt-weeklies to the Guardian.