Amazon’s Dirty Little Secret: EU Cracks Down on Deceptive Ads

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    EU Takes Aim at Amazon’s Dark Heart: "Blackbox" AI Systems Under Fire

    In a bold move, the European Commission has sent Amazon yet another request for information (RFI) – its third in as many months – to scrutinize the e-commerce giant’s compliance with the bloc’s Digital Services Act (DSA). The latest RFI is a stark warning to Amazon that the EU is no longer willing to turn a blind eye to its opaque algorithms and manipulative advertising practices.

    The EU is zeroing in on Amazon’s "blackbox" AI systems, which have been accused of pushing harmful content and recommending dangerous products to unsuspecting consumers. The Commission is demanding transparency on Amazon’s recommender systems, ad repository, and risk assessment measures – all of which are critical to ensuring that the platform doesn’t become a breeding ground for illegal activities and societal harms.

    Amazon’s refusal to comply with the DSA’s transparency requirements has been a major sticking point for the EU. The company has spent millions of dollars on lawyers to try to argue why it shouldn’t have to comply with the law, but the EU has refused to back down. In March, the EU General Court overturned Amazon’s partial suspension of the ads library requirement, making it clear that the company must comply with the full set of DSA obligations.

    The stakes are high for Amazon. Failure to comply with the DSA could result in penalties of up to 6% of its global annual turnover – a sum that could run into double-digit billions. The EU is not messing around, and Amazon would do well to take this latest RFI seriously.

    But the EU’s move is not just about Amazon. It’s about sending a message to all online platforms that the era of opaque algorithms and manipulative advertising practices is coming to an end. The Commission is determined to ensure that platforms are transparent about their decision-making processes and that users are protected from harmful content and practices.

    The question is, will Amazon comply with the EU’s demands? Or will it continue to fight the law and risk facing severe penalties? Only time will tell. One thing is certain, however: the EU is no longer willing to turn a blind eye to Amazon’s dark heart.

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