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Amazon claims it is not a big online platform

by on12 July 2023

Trying to evade EU rules 

Mega-online retailer Amazon claims that it does not need to comply with Europe's Digital Services Act because it is too small to meet the definition of a Very Large Online Platform under EU law.

Amazon filed an appeal at the EU General Court to challenge the European Commission decision that Amazon meets the criteria and must comply with the new regulations.

"We agree with the EC's objective and are committed to protecting customers from illegal products and content, but Amazon doesn't fit this description of a 'Very Large Online Platform' (VLOP) under the DSA and therefore should not be designated as such," Amazon said.

For those who came in late, the Digital Services Act includes content moderation requirements, transparency rules, and protections for minors. Targeted advertising based on profiling toward children will no longer be permitted, for example. Amazon argued that the new law is supposed to "address systemic risks posed by very large companies with advertising as their primary revenue and that distribute speech and information," and not businesses that are primarily retail-based.

"The vast majority of our revenue comes from our retail business," Amazon said.

Amazon also claims it's unfair that some retailers with larger businesses in individual countries weren't on the list of 19 companies that must comply with the Digital Services Act. The rules only designate platforms with over 45 million active users in the EU as of February 17.

Amazon said it is "not the largest retailer in any of the EU countries where we operate, and none of these largest retailers in each European country has been designated as a VLOP. If the VLOP designation were to be applied to Amazon and not to other large retailers across the EU, Amazon would be unfairly singled out and forced to meet onerous administrative obligations that don't benefit EU consumers."

Those other companies Amazon referred to include Poland's Allegro or the Dutch Neither of those platforms appears to have at least 45 million active users.

A summary of the appeal provided by Amazon claimed the designation "is based on a discriminatory criterion and disproportionately violates the principle of equal treatment and the applicant's fundamental rights."

In response, the EC said that "it would defend its position in court and added that Amazon still must comply with the rules by end of August, regardless of the appeal," Bloomberg wrote.

"The scope of the DSA is very clear and is defined to cover all platforms that expose their users to content, including the sale of products or services, which can be illegal," the commission said.

"For marketplaces as for social networks, very wide user reach increases the risks and the platforms' responsibilities to address them."

Last modified on 12 July 2023
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