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Amazon needs to comply with ad database under EU platform rules, court says

The EU’s highest court rejected interim measures requested by the US online marketplace.

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Amazon must comply with EU platform rules that require the company to set up a public ad repository, pending the outcome of a substantive appeal of its designation by the EU executive under the Digital Services Act (DSA), the European Court of Justice (ECJ) said in a statement today (27 March).

The US tech company last year appealed a European Commission decision that designated Amazon as one of the Very Large Online Platforms (VLOPs) under the DSA. This would require Amazon Store to make a repository containing detailed information on its online advertising publicly available.

Amazon tried to annul that designation decision before the General Court of the EU, and made an application for interim measures pending the substantive appeal, seeking to avoid full implementation until the challenge had been decided. 

The Vice-President of the ECJ today dismissed the application for interim measures. The ruling said that EU interests prevail over Amazon’s material interests.

“A suspension would lead to a delay, potentially for several years, in the full achievement of the objectives of the Regulation on a Single Market for Digital Services and therefore potentially allow an online environment threatening fundamental rights to persist or develop, whereas the EU legislature considered that very large platforms play an important role in that environment,” the ruling said.

An Amazon spokesperson said in response that the company was disappointed with the decision.

“[We] maintain that Amazon doesn’t fit the description of a ‘Very Large Online Platform’ (VLOP) under the DSA, and should not be designated as such. Customer safety is a top priority for us at Amazon, and we continue to work closely with the European Commission with regard to our obligations under the DSA.”

The General Court will deliver a final judgement on the substance of the case at a later date.

Under the DSA, VLOPs, platforms with at least 45 million monthly active users, need to comply with obligations requiring more transparency, data sharing and risk management dues, or risk heavy fines of up to six per cent of the company’s global turnover.

The commission has so far designated 22 platforms. Besides Amazon, German fashion website Zalando also appealed against its designation.

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