eBay to ban listings of Confederate flags, calling them a 'symbol of divisiveness and racism'
Confederate flag waving on the wind (Shutterstock)

Online auction site eBay Inc said on Tuesday it will ban Confederate flags and related items containing the flag's image from its website as it had become a "contemporary symbol of divisiveness and racism."

The decision comes after Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Sears Holdings Corp said they would stop selling products bearing the Confederate flag on Monday, after a white gunman shot nine dead last week at a historically black South Carolina church.

Johnna Hoff, spokeswoman for eBay said the company will take immediate action to block new listings and begin notifying sellers who have current listings of Confederate flags or related merchandise that may be impacted by the decision.

A search on eBay's website on Tuesday found thousands of Confederate flags and merchandise including clothing and smartphone cases bearing the flag's image on its marketplace.

The company said it already prohibits items related to Nazis and slavery under its protocol to remove offensive materials from its site, which carries around 800 million listings globally.

"The decision is consistent with our longstanding policy that prohibits items that promote hatred, violence or glorify racial intolerance," said Hoff.

South Carolina lawmakers plan to introduce a resolution on Tuesday to begin a debate on removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds following the killings of the churchgoers.