Brian Kelly

Amazon challenges EU’s new digital rules


Amazon is challenging European Union (EU) digital rules due to take effect next month that designate the company as a major online platform and therefore subject to stricter scrutiny under the new EU online content standards.

The online retailer is taking legal action through the EU court system, claiming that to classify it as a “very large online platform” under the soon-to-be-implemented Digital Services Act (DSA) is unfair.

Two weeks ago, the German online retailer Zalando filed a similar legal claim.

The new rules will require the biggest tech companies to protect users from illegal content and dubious products. Failure to do so could result in billions in fines or an outright ban on being able to do business in the EU.

The new rules, which seek to ensure that the EU continues to set the pace in holding social media companies and other digital platforms to account, are due to come into force on 25 August.

The DSA listing classifies US-based Amazon as one of the 19 largest online platforms and search engines. As such, the company would be required to ensure its services better protect EU users from hate speech, disinformation, and other harmful content online.

Amazon insists it supports the DSA’s efforts to tackle systemic online abuses but feels that it is being “unfairly singled out” when none of the largest retailers in the EU countries it operates in have been similarly designated. Moreover, the company notes that most of its revenue “comes from our retail business”, not from advertising and the dissemination of “speech and information.”

The European Commission (EC) has indicated it will defend its position in court. It maintains that the DSA’s scope is clear, “defined to cover all platforms that expose their users to content, including the sale of products or services, which can be illegal.”

“For marketplaces as for social networks, very wide user reach increases the risks and the platforms’ responsibilities to address them,” it added.

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