Amazon becomes first US company to challenge EU digital rules

Online retail giant files legal action against proposed legislation designed to rein in Big Tech

Amazon has become the first US company to challenge the European Union’s proposed legislation designed to force Big Tech to police content online, arguing it is being unfairly targeted by the law.

The Seattle-based technology giant has filed a petition to the general court in Luxembourg to annul its designation as a “very large online platform” under the Digital Services Act, which imposes extra obligations to tackle hate speech and disinformation online.

Amazon’s move will be followed closely by the 18 other companies, including Twitter and TikTok, that the EU has said fall within the scope of the law.

Last month, Germany’s Zalando, Europe’s largest online retailer, became the first company to start a legal action over being caught by the legislation. It has long been expected that Silicon Valley groups would also challenge the rules.


The DSA seeks to target intermediaries such as Zalando so that regulators can better police the safety and authenticity of products sold online.

Amazon said: “The DSA was designed to address systemic risks posed by very large companies with advertising as their primary revenue and that distribute speech and information. Amazon doesn’t fit this description of a ‘very large online platform’ under the DSA and therefore should not be designated as such.”

The US company said that most of its revenue comes from its retail business. Its addition to the European Commission’s list of targeted companies would mean it would be “unfairly singled out and forced to meet onerous administrative obligations that do not benefit EU consumers”, it said.

Amazon will argue that its store gives users goods for sale and that it does not spread content, such as disinformation, which the DSA rules aim to address.

The act comes into force on August 25th and is part of a shake-up of the bloc’s digital rules. It sets new standards for policing hate speech, disinformation and counterfeits online that all large digital platforms must comply with.

The commission acknowledged the move from Amazon but said it had “no comment” on that.

“The scope of the DSA is very clear and is defined to cover all platforms that expose their users to content, including the sale of products or services, which can be illegal,” the statement said.

“For marketplaces as for social networks, very wide user reach increases the risks and the platforms’ responsibilities to address them.”

The commission added that it will defend its position in court. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2023