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EU opens probe into AliExpress over alleged illegal content

EU opens probe into AliExpress over alleged illegal content

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The European Commission has opened a probe into AliExpress (全球速賣通), an eCommerce website run by Alibaba, over concerns about illegal and pornographic content on its platform.

According to the statement, the commission will investigate AliExpress under its Digital Services Act (DSA), a law that aims to create a safer digital space where the fundamental rights of users are protected and to establish a level playing field for businesses.

The commission stated that it is currently investigating the dissemination of illegal content and assessing the actual or potential negative impacts on consumer protection.

According to the statement, there is a lack of enforcement of AliExpress' terms of service prohibiting certain products posing risks to consumers' health such as fake medicines and food, as well as dietary supplements. Furthermore, the commission noted that there is pornographic material accessible on the website that can be accessed by minors.

Additionally, the commission believes that AliExpress may lack effective measures to prevent intentional manipulation through "hidden links" on the online platform. The commission will gather evidence, for example by sending additional requests for information, conducting interviews or inspections.

    The investigation encompasses several areas, including the management and mitigation of risks; content moderation and internal complaint handling mechanisms, transparency of advertising and recommender systems; traceability of traders; and data access for researchers.

    Margrethe Vestager, executive vice-president for a Europe fit for the digital age, European Commission, said: “Consumers’ protection, especially for minors, is an essential cornerstone of the DSA AliExpress must respect its obligations to mitigate the systemic risks on its platform and apply all safeguard provisions to ensure its services are safe.”

    MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to Alibaba for a statement. 

    Don't miss: Apple to appeal US$2bn fine ruled by EU following Spotify's complaint

    On the other hand, the commission opened probe into TikTok last month over potentially breaching the DSA in areas linked to the protection of minors, advertising transparency, data access for researchers, as well as the risk management of addictive design and harmful content.

    Back in December last year, the commission conducted an investigation into X (formerly Twitter) to evaluate potential breaches of the DSA in areas linked to risk management, content moderation, dark patterns, advertising transparency and data access for researchers.

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