Yahoo has announced plans to introduce a small fee for its auction service and to ban from sale items associated with racist or violent groups. The ban comes into effect 10 January.

Auction sellers will be presented with a listing fee with a sliding scale based on the price of the listed item, with a maximum of £1.35, the company said in a statement.

Yahoo said it is not taking a sales commission, and that the "nominal" fee will "further improve the quality of our auctions service."

Yahoo also said it will implement a new monitoring program, under which it "will no longer allow items that are associated with groups which promote or glorify hatred and violence" on any of its US shopping or classified advertising sites. Sales of, for example, Nazi military items or Ku Klux Klan memorabilia will be banned.

The monitoring program "will incorporate both a new internally-developed technology, as well as trained representatives who will monitor the site regularly," Yahoo said.

Yahoo has come under pressure from European governments over the availability of items which are illegal under national law.

France's highest court ruled against the company in November, requiring it to prevent French users from accessing US sites, where banned Nazi items are sold.

And German authorities have investigated Yahoo's local site for the alleged auction sale of Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf," which is banned in that country.