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Amazon stalled the European Union’s Digital Services Act (DSA) requirements by claiming it isn’t a very large online platform, according to a court ruling on Wednesday. In April, the EU ordered the tech company to abide by DSA rules to regulate its content moderation policies and provide ad-transparency data.
EU regulators listed Amazon as one of 19 Big Tech companies that fall under DSA laws labeling them as “Very Large Online Platforms” (VLOP), which is identified as an online platform consisting of more than 45 million users. Companies that fall under the rules are required to publish details of advertisements they receive including the ad’s content, the brand name or subject, and who paid for them.
“We consider these 19 online platforms and search engines have become systemically relevant and have special responsibilities to make the internet safer,” Thierry Breton, commissioner for the internal market of the European Union, told Forbes in July. The other 18 other companies that fall under the DSA guidelines include Google Play, Meta, YouTube, and X, formerly called Twitter, among others.
Amazon argued against the EU’s decision, telling The Verge it had been “unfairly singled out,” claiming the majority of its revenue comes from its retail business, adding that more than 70% of its 2022 profits came from North America, meaning it does not fall under the VLOP label.
“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,” an Amazon spokesperson told Reuters at the time of its court request.
The company brought the case to the Luxembourg-based court, Europe’s second-highest court, in July and requested the court suspend the DSA’s requirements while it considers Amazon’s challenge against the VLOP obligations. The judge clarified during the ruling that its obligation to provide ad transparency is suspended while the company pursues legal action against being designated as a Very Large Online Platform.
“We welcome this decision as an important first step that supports our broader position that Amazon doesn’t fit the description of a ‘Very Large Online Platform’ (VLOP) under the DSA, and therefore should not be designated as such,” an Amazon spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Gizmodo. “We look forward to working closely with the EC with regard to Amazon’s other obligations under the DSA.”
Of course, there are more ways than one to run an ad business. For example, you could prioritize promoting your own products over competitors on your online retail platform. That’s the kind of thing that Amazon is accused of in a huge antitrust lawsuit filed by the FTC this week.