Pinterest will stop promoting posts featuring golliwogs, saying the dolls violate their policy around "hateful activities".
The social media company told BuzzFeed News it would limit golliwog dolls – toys based on a racist caricature of African people – from the site's recommendations, autocomplete and email notifications.
But it will not remove golliwog-related content altogether from its site.
"Golliwog dolls are insensitive, offensive and violate our hateful activities policy," a Pinterest spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. "We want everyone to feel welcome and inspired on Pinterest, which is why we've limited the distribution of this content across our platform and don't accept advertisements for them."
Users have created hundreds of golliwog boards, with many including dozens of pictures of the character.
Golliwog pins were still included in the home feeds of two accounts operated by BuzzFeed News after the announcement. This suggests that the site's algorithm is still serving the content to user's accounts.
The alternate spelling "gollywog" is still included in the website's search autocomplete function. Pinterest did not respond to questions on when the changes would kick in or if the alternate spelling would also be flagged.
The decision comes days after Pinterest – and other major wedding-planning platforms – told BuzzFeed News they would stop promoting wedding venues and content that romanticise former slave plantations.
Golliwog dolls — which started as late nineteenth century English book character inspired by minstrels performing blackface — were popular toys in the United States, Australia and the UK.
The Ferris State University's Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia describes the Golliwog as "the least known of the major anti-black caricatures".
Tim Lo Surdo is the founder of the Australian racial justice advocacy group Democracy in Colour. He welcomes Pinterest's announcement as a positive step.
"This is a positive step from Pinterest that recognises the growing demand from consumers for ethical companies that do not derive their profit from the dehumanisation of other people," Lo Surdo told BuzzFeed News in an email.
Lo Surdo points out that proliferation of racist memorabilia is only a symptom of a wider systemic problem.
"While Pinterest’s announcement is a positive step, as long as politicians continue to sow the seeds of fear and hate for their own personal gain, online racism is going to continue to thrive," he said.