European Commission probes Amazon, Temu, Shein over ad recommendation systems

The European Commission has sent a request for information to Amazon on measures taken to comply with a landmark EU law on content moderation, the Digital Services Act (DSA), according to a Friday (5 July) press release.

It’s the latest in a barrage of similar requests, accusations, and fines from the EU executive against big tech platforms under the DSA and the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

Amazon has been requested to provide information on the transparency of its recommendation systems, including data inputs, and opt-out options offered to users who don’t want to be profiled by their algorithms, by 26 July, the press release said.

The e-commerce giant is also requested to answer questions on its Amazon Store Ad Library, including a risk assessment report. The Library provides EU users “with the ability to query data related to advertisements and affiliate marketing content,” according to a company website.

The firm is “reviewing” the request and is working closely with the Commission, an Amazon spokesperson told Euractiv on Friday.

The Commission will assess its next steps based on the company’s replies. Since Amazon is designated a Very Large Online Platform (VLOP), meaning that it counts over 45 million users in Europe, the consequences of which can include fines up to 6% of the company’s global annual turnover. Amazon reported $574.8 billion (€530.8 billion) in net sales in 2023.

Just one week ago, the Commission sent similar requests to e-commerce platforms Temu and Shein.

Amazon had tried to suspend its DSA obligation to make its ads repository publicly available, in the Court of Justice of the EU.  But the court decided against Amazon on 27 March.

Source: European Commission probes Amazon over recommendation systems – Euractiv

Well, it’s not like Amazon hasn’t used their marketplace data to sell their own competing products before:

Amazon knew seller data was used to boost company sales

Bag maker Peak Design calls out Amazon for its copycat ways

European Commission charges Amazon over misuse of seller data to make copy cat products

Amazon Restricts How Rival Device Makers Buy Ads on Its Site

Amazon and Meta to stop using rivals marketplace data to undercut their products.

Amazon offers to share data, boost rivals to dodge EU antitrust fines

The list goes on and on – this is just from 2020 upwards.

Robin Edgar

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