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A profile image used by US e-commerce giant eBay in its email address for the UK market has amused Brits.

The startling picture that replaced the company logo was that of a topless woman.

The change was first reported by Twitter before it caught wider attention and then was quicly fixed – perhaps not a moment too soon for eBay, but perhaps too quickly for some of its customers.

The highly unusual change of the email avatar seems to have affected only those users who read their messages from eBay using Microsoft's Outlook mobile app.

It remains unclear at this time what was behind the incident, with eBay customers likely wanting to be reassured that it wasn't a hack, that might have compromised the system and their data.

But at this stage, Microsoft was unwilling to say anything useful, with a spokesperson announcing merely that they were working to “support their customer.”

“We are in touch with Microsoft – one of our email service providers in the UK – who is actively investigating the root cause of the matter,” an eBay spokesperson said. “Microsoft has assured us that they’re taking all the necessary steps to address the issue.”

This opinion that there has been no hack seems to be based on statements coming out of eBay itself, who sought to give assurances there was “no reason” to think the company had been compromised.

The circumstances under which the mistake happened would still not go a long way towards explaining why the image was stored on eBay's – or Microsoft's – computers in the first place.

The mystery, however, persists, but all signs seem to be pointing in Microsoft's direction, as it was the tech giant's update pushed to the Outlook app that fixed eBay's profile image. Now all that remains is for customers to find out what exactly happened.

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