EU Commission Launches Formal Investigation into Alibaba's AliExpress Over Illegal Content Concerns

By John Lopez

Mar 14, 2024 08:51 AM EDT

The European Commission has formally opened an investigation into AliExpress, the international e-commerce platform run by Chinese tech giant Alibaba. 

This move comes amid concerns about the platform's dissemination of illegal content and pornography, and it marks the third formal probe under the newly established Digital Services Act (DSA).

This illustration picture taken on July 24, 2019 in Paris shows the logo of the Chinese online store application AliExpress on the screen of a tablet. (Photo by Martin BUREAU / AFP)
(Photo : Photo by MARTIN BUREAU/AFP via Getty Images)

AliExpress Under Scrutiny Over Illegal Content

The DSA, a landmark legislation recently enacted, aims to regulate tech giants and ensure compliance with various regulations, including content moderation and consumer protection. 

AliExpress finds itself under scrutiny for potential breaches of the DSA in several key areas, including risk management, content moderation, and advertising transparency.

The investigation will delve into whether AliExpress failed to enforce its terms of service, prohibiting the sale of certain products posing risks to consumers' health, such as fake medicines and food items. 

Additionally, the Commission will examine allegations that the platform inadequately prevents minors from accessing pornographic material, a serious concern for consumer protection.

Furthermore, the probe will scrutinize AliExpress' recommendation systems and compliance with rules regarding advertising repositories. The Commission seeks transparency regarding the parameters used in recommendation systems and the availability of advertising repositories on the platform. 

The Commission's action underscores the importance of regulatory oversight in the digital space, particularly concerning platforms with a global reach. 

READ MORE: Alibaba Executive Will Step Down To Promote Younger Managers Amid Restructuring Efforts

In Other News

Alibaba Group, AliExpress' parent company, has announced plans to invest over $1 billion in Korea over the next three years. This investment includes constructing a $200 million distribution center to enhance logistics networks and promote Korean sellers globally (via Korea Herald).

However, as AliExpress expands its presence in Korea and other markets, concerns persist regarding the quality of products and services offered on the platform. The Korean Fair Trade Commission has hinted at tighter scrutiny over complaints related to Chinese e-commerce platforms' business practices.

The outcome of the EU Commission's investigation into AliExpress remains uncertain, but it signals a broader trend of regulatory scrutiny facing tech companies worldwide.

READ NEXT: Alibaba's Response to SEC Investigation Reveals Chinese Government Ownership in Over 12 Business Units

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