Amazon's retail wing tops list of take-down demands from Europe under new DSA law

Box shifter says it caught millions of miscreants with its own systems though

Amazon Stores received the highest number of take-down demands under the European Union's Digital Services Act out of all 19 of the tech giants who've been singled out for special attention under the newly introduced laws.

The first tranche of transparency reports from the "very large online platforms and search engines" (aka VLOPs) reveals the online box-shifter received by far the most demands to remove stuff from its souk from EU member states under Article 9 of the DSA: 1,081, well ahead of Snapchat with 707. The remaining firms received significantly fewer demands: the next on the list was AliExpress, with just 34 demands.

These take-down demands, also known as legal orders, are made by European regulators and, according to Amazon's report [PDF], happen when "a bad actor or content has evaded our proactive controls or notice systems," according to Amazon.

Basically, it's something naughty happening on Amazon's platform that its own systems haven't detected, and so a watchdog steps in to demannd the offending thing to be taken off the site.

Article 9 of the DSA says take-down orders can be made against illegal content appearing on a platform or search engine, issued by relevant national judicial or administrative authorities, on the basis of the applicable Union law or national law in compliance with Union law.

"In the first half of 2023, we received 1,081 contacts from EU member states' authorities. The median time to inform an authority we received their contact was less than one day, and the median time to resolve the issue they surfaced was two days. Of those contacts, 1,081 were related to product and we had no contacts related to App, Audio, Image, Synthetic Media, Text, Video, or Other," the online retail giant said.

Amazon said it also responded to 8,863 legal requests from EU member states' authorities for information about its service's users within the legally mandated timeframes.

It's unlikely Amazon's high score could solely be attributed to its popularity. The platform attracts 181.4 million average monthly users across the EU. Snapchat has 102 million average monthly active recipients. Facebook did not receive any take-down orders under Article 9, although it has around 258 million active users in the EU.

The reporting periods under the DSA have yet to be aligned. Amazon reported six months January to June 2023 inclusively. Snapchat covered the same period, but Facebook covered a month less: from 25 April 2023 to 30 September 2023. Other platform used different periods: AliExpress, for example, reported on July, August and September 2023; it reported 34 orders in that period. Even accounting for different reporting period, Amazon accrued a higher number of orders per month (around 180) than any other tech giant.

You found what in the bathroom?

Amazon was not the slowest to respond to removal orders, though. That honor went to online travel website The holiday accom booker took a median time of 10 days to give effect to a legal order. Amazon took around two days to do the same.

Amazon said it took 274 million actions on its own initiative, using proactive content moderation tools among other methods to remove content from its EU store.

The DSA came into effect in August as part of a plan to offer consumers protection in dealing with tech giants. It is designed to make them "tackle the spread of illegal content, online disinformation and other societal risks" presented by online service providers.

Maximum fines of up to 6 percent of total global turnover are possible under the new law, meaning penalties could run into the tens of billions of dollars.

The DSA arrived with another hefty chunk of EU tech legislation, its so-called sister act – the Digital Markets Act. It applies to companies who act as gatekeepers of online services and are designed to ensure equal access for some third-party software. ®

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