Amazon loses appeal to suspend EU advertising rules

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has overturned an appeal from Amazon to suspend a requirement regarding its online advertising in the bloc.

The European Union’s Digital Services Act (DSA), which came into action last year, classified companies over a certain threshold of usership as ‘very large online platforms’. Such companies are subject to strict rules, with Amazon looking to suspend one which requires it to tackle illegal and harmful content on its platform.

A lower tribunal in September had agreed to Amazon’s request for an interim measure to suspend the obligation, but the CJEU on Wednesday ruled against the company, saying that its material interests do not outweigh the EU’s interests.

The judge ruling against the appeal said that Amazon’s argument that the obligation unlawfully limits its rights to respect for private life and the freedom to conduct a business were not irrelevant, and that Amazon would likely suffer serious harm without a suspension.

He however said that a suspension of this obligation could have a detrimental impact on the DSA’s objectives, saying in his ruling: "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.

"The interests defended by the EU legislature prevail, in the present case, over Amazon's material interests, with the result that the balancing of interests weighs in favour of rejecting the request for suspension."

Reacting to the ruling, Amazon said: "We are disappointed with this decision, and 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."

In further European ignominy for the company, Amazon was also fined $7.8 million on Wednesday by Poland’s consumer watchdog after it had received complaints from customers whose orders were not delivered.

Tomasz Chrostny, head of the watchdog UOKiK, said: "The average consumer has the right to assume that the purchase options, availability and delivery times offered by traders are not misleading.”

Amazon said that it would appeal against the decision, telling Reuters: “We strictly follow legal standards in all countries where we operate and we strongly disagree with the assessment and penalty issued by the UOKiK."

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