Pueblo smoke shop criticized over falsely-labeled ad - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Pueblo smoke shop criticized over falsely-labeled ad

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A Letgo spokesperson reached out to News5 on Wednesday (the day after our story aired), releasing this statement:

"We use artificial intelligence to auto-title and categorize listings, as well as to help moderate our marketplace. In this case, a bug prevented this technology from functioning properly. Our artificial intelligence identified the listing as something that we prohibit on our marketplace, however it was briefly and mistakenly allowed to be posted. Our team is working to address this issue."


With her family name displayed in front of her smoke shop, Rose Obley says the reputation of her new business is especially important.

"Even though it's a smoke shop, I'm proud of it."

Since opening in January, the online feedback appeared to all be positive...

"We have 5 out of 5 stars," Obley said of her Google reviews.

But this week, some negative reviews emerged--not about her shop, but about a post Obley had made on an app called "Letgo."

Obley says she puts frequently posts pipes for sale on free sites and apps as a way to generate interest in her business.

But on Monday, she discovered one of the postings for what she says are oil burners was being advertised on Letgo as "Assorted Meth Pipes."

"It made me feel bad, because I'm the one who posted the pictures but I'm not the one that did the description," she explained.

We decided to test out that claim, by listing a News5 Office chair for sale.

And just like Obley described...

"It asks you for the price, and it says 'congratulations, it's been posted.'"

If you don't go back in to edit your post, the app generates its own listing for you.

The listing generated for the News5 office chair was accurate, describing it as a "black leather roller chair."

The listing for Obley, though, suggested she was selling illegal drug paraphernalia.

She took the post down as quickly as possible, but not before screenshots of it--accompanied by angry comments and criticism--started circulating on facebook.

"I want to apologize to the community and let them know I didn't write that label," Obley told News5.

"I wouldn't do that.  I know what's going on in the community.  And from the Obley family, I don't want to be associated with that."

With things now seemingly getting back to normal, she hopes the ad won't hurt her business--and even more so, her family's name.

"You don't want to be representative of something bad like that.  It's not only carrying on me.  It's my family, my kids, my husband, it's everything."

News5 did reach out to Letgo with questions on how they generate the title of these listings and if they were aware of this particular post--but we did not receive a response. 

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