eBay’s establishment more than two decades ago marked the beginning of the e-commerce revolution. Over the years, it has attracted 134 million users, ranging from bargain-hunting collectors to small business proprietors.
In 2022, eBay users sold nearly $74 billion worth of products. A note on page 105 of the Silicon Valley giant’s annual financial report hinted at a scandal last winter, which was otherwise concealed in an otherwise dull financial report.
It refers to an investigation by the U.S. Attorney into eBay employees’ surveillance and harassment of the editor and publisher of an online newsletter. In March, we introduced you to the target couple of the surveillance. They cherished eBay so much that they created a publication to assist those who sell items on the auction website, only to become the target of a terror campaign.
The Steiners have been married for over 30 years and have operated a home-based business for over 20. They publish the EcommerceBytes news website. The Steiners never signed up for newsletters.
Three days later, the Steiners received an odd phone call. The following week, someone sent the Steiners crates containing live cockroaches and spiders. Addressed to David but sent to their neighbors, pornographic material was received.
The Steiners’ residence was listed on social media as the location of yard sales and sex parties. Then, this book about surviving the loss of a companion arrived at the Steiners’ home, addressed to David.
eBay Employees and Contractors Indicted for Targeting Couple Who Reported on Company
After David observed a van and then a car following him, the Steiners were frightened inside their home and hesitant to leave. He was horrified, but he was able to photograph the license plate.
Sergeant Sutherland followed Veronica Zea’s rental car to the Boston Ritz Carlton, where he contacted her from the hotel lobby. Zea fled the city without speaking with police. But Detective Haswell was pursuing a different lead. He discovered that the funeral wreath sent to the Steiners was purchased with a gift card from a grocery store near the eBay headquarters in Silicon Valley.
The FBI assumed control. Ten months later, United States Attorney Andrew Lelling in Massachusetts announced the indictments of six eBay employees and contractors. According to the current United States Attorney, the investigation into eBay is ongoing.
Steve Wymer was terminated from eBay for cause and is now the director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Silicon Valley. He has stated that his messages were misconstrued and that he was unaware of the employees’ behavior until after the fact.
Former CEO Devin Wenig stated in a statement to 60 Minutes that he was appalled by what occurred and would have intervened if he had known about it at the time. In September of 2019, Wenig resigned from eBay with a $57 million exit package.
Source: CBS News