eBay has announced its decision to join the growing number of companies which have banned the sale of items showing the flag.

The auction site made the announcement on Tuesday, and joins retailers such as Walmart and Sears in its decision. eBay bosses say that the decision is part of a wider policy of prohibiting the sale of items which promote racial intolerance, writes MJ Lee for CNN.

eBay Confederate Flag

eBay: Growing tide of opposition to Confederate flag

“We have decided to prohibit Confederate flags, and many items containing this image, because we believe it has become a contemporary symbol of divisiveness and racism,” wrote eBay spokesperson Johnna Hoff in an email to CNN. “This decision is consistent with our long-standing policy that prohibits items that promote or glorify hatred, violence and racial intolerance.”

Hoff later added that eBay carries out continual monitoring and evaluation of the 800 million products which are sold on its site with the aim of making sure that they are “consistent with our core purpose.”

Confederate flag products have previously been removed from the stores of retailers such as Walmart and Sears.

Calls for flag to be removed from grounds of South Carolina state capitol

The continued use of the divisive flag has long been called into question by civil rights activists, but recent events in Charleston, South Carolina, have drawn greater attention to the issue. A racially-motivated mass shooting left 9 African-Americans dead after a white male opened fire inside a historically black church.

Although the Confederate flag continues to fly in the grounds of the state capitol, the shooting has increased calls for it to be removed. Among those pressing for the end of its use are South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.

Amazon has so far not moved to prohibit the sale of Confederate flag merchandise on its website, and a spokesperson was not available to respond to repeated requests for comment on the issue from CNN.

The continued use of a symbol of repression and intolerance does nothing to assuage concerns that the United States remains a society divided along racial lines. As major retailers like eBay begin to recognize the significance of the continued sale of products bearing the Confederate flag, the pressure is mounting on authorities to end its use on official grounds and buildings.