Shopify, the Canadian e-commerce giant, is making a stand by banning the trade of guns and related accessories on its widely-popular platform. The company based in Ottawa recently announced policy changes aimed at preventing online sellers from selling firearms, rocket launchers, grenades, and sound suppressors, among others. The firm was mum on the reasons behind the policy changes but said these are part of regular amendments. It also said that it will continue to review its policies and may refine these as needed.
Shopify fishing for controversy
Shopify’s announcement has sparked a controversy especially since many firearms sellers have used the Internet to sell their items online.
But it is also seen as an image-changing move for the company whose stock has risen by more than 700 percent since its initial public offering in 2015. While the firm has become an Internet giant since then, it has also grappled with the responsibility to avoid being a vehicle of weapons even those which are legal to buy.
The move is also seen to push Shopify into one of the biggest political debates in the United States. Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke, in a blog post, said that the firm has found itself to be in a position where they cannot be neutral on certain issues.
Effects on Shopify operations
The company said that the number of people who will be affected by the policy change is small. But observers feel otherwise as there is an estimated $2 million annual revenue from stores selling weapons. Moreover, the issue is controversial especially to conservative Americans who want to protect themselves and their families.
This is the second straight year wherein the company has faced a similar issue. Last year, Shopify was pressured by activities to stop serving the online store of conservative news site Breitbart.