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Amazon makes first Big Tech challenge to EU online content rules

Amazon is challenging its inclusion in a group of companies subject to tough European Union online content rules, in a move that may prompt other tech giants to follow suit.

The challenge at the Luxembourg-based General Court, Europe’s second highest, is the first by a Big Tech company and came two weeks after German online retailer Zalando sued the European Commission over the same issue.

Under the Digital Services Act (DSA), which came into force last year, 19 platforms and search engines were labelled as very large online platforms as they have more than 45 million users.

A VLOP designation requires companies to do more to tackle illegal online content, undertake risk management, conduct external and independent auditing and share data with authorities and researchers.

Amazon said it is not the largest retailer in any of the EU countries where it operates and bigger rivals in these countries have not been designated as VLOPs and asked the General Court to annul its designation.

“Amazon doesn’t fit this description of a ‘Very Large Online Platform’ under the DSA and therefore should not be designated as such,” an Amazon spokesperson said on Tuesday.

“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.”

The EU executive said it took note of Amazon’s challenge and would defend its position in court.

“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,” a Commission spokesperson said.

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

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