Amazon launches first U.S. challenge to EU content rules

Peter Endig | AFP | Getty ImagesAmazon is fighting its inclusion in the European Union’s list of companies that are subject to landmark online content rules, marking the first U.S. challenge to the proposed legislation.The e-retailer on Tuesday filed a petition in Luxembourg’s General Court arguing it should not be designated as one of the 17 “very large online platforms,” or VLOPs, under the EU’s Digital Services Act, which imposes stricter rules around policing illegal material on their platforms. Fellow U.S. tech giants Google, Meta and Apple are also subject to the rules.Amazon disputed it being labeled a VLOP under the act, saying the designation applies to companies with advertising as their primary revenue and that distribute speech and information.”The vast majority of our revenue comes from our retail business, we are 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,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement. “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.”A representative for the European Commission, the EU’s executive body, declined to comment.The DSA, which was implemented last November, requires companies with more than 45 million monthly active users to comply with a set of rules around policing hate speech, disinformation and counterfeits on their platforms. They must submit risk assessments, and conduct external and independent auditing, among other compliance measures, or else they risk facing fines of as much as 6% of their annual revenue.Last month, German online fashion and lifestyle retailer Zalando filed a suit contesting its designation as a VLOP, arguing retail constitutes the majority of its business.

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