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eBay Settles for $3 Million Over Unusual Cyberstalking Campaign

eBay to pay $3 million over 2019 harassment campaign. DOJ charges eBay with felonies for stalking and obstruction of justice in a case targeting a critical couple.

eBay to Pay $3 Million for 2019 Harassment Campaign Targeting Critics

In a landmark settlement, eBay agrees to pay $3 million following a 2019 harassment campaign against a Massachusetts couple critical of the platform. The US Department of Justice charges eBay with six felonies, including stalking and obstruction of justice, for a disturbing campaign led by seven employees, some holding executive positions.

The charges detail a plan to target Ina and David Steiner, owners of an e-commerce newsletter critical of eBay. The harassment involved online threats, surveillance at the couple's home, and sending gruesome items such as a bloody pig mask, funeral wreath, live insects, and a book on coping with the death of a spouse. Former eBay security director James Baugh and the company's former director of global resiliency have already been sentenced to prison.

Acting US Attorney Joshua S. Levy condemned eBay's "absolutely horrific, criminal conduct," highlighting the traumatizing impact on the victims. As part of the deferred prosecution agreement, eBay must retain a corporate compliance monitor for three years and enhance its compliance program significantly.

eBay CEO Jamie Iannone expressed the company's responsibility for the misconduct, stating, "eBay remains committed to upholding high standards of conduct and ethics and to making things right with the Steiners." However, this settlement might not mark the end of eBay's legal challenges, as the Steiners' lawsuit against eBay and former CEO Devin Wenig proceeds, alleging a campaign to intimidate and silence them.