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EC Deepens Investigation of AliExpress Compliance With Digital Services Act

Digital Services Act

The European Commission (EC) has opened formal proceedings to determine whether AliExpress breached requirements of the Digital Services Act.

The probe will look at the online marketplace’s management and mitigation of risks, content moderation, handling of complaints, transparency of advertising, traceability of traders and accessibility of data to researchers, the EC said in a Thursday (March 14) press release.

The opening of formal proceedings does not prejudge an outcome, the release said. Instead, it means the EC will prioritize and carry out an in-depth investigation.

“Consumers’ protection, especially for minors, is an essential cornerstone of the Digital Services Act,” Margrethe Vestager, executive vice president for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, said in the release. “AliExpress must respect its obligations to mitigate the systemic risks on its platform and apply all safeguard provisions to ensure its services are safe. The Commission will now assess its measures and verify their compliance with our rules.”

Reached by PYMNTS, AliExpress said in an emailed statement that it respects the applicable rules and regulations of the markets in which it operates.

“As a VLOP [Very Large Online Platform], we have been working with, and will continue to work with, the relevant authorities on making sure we comply with applicable standards and will continue to ensure that we will be able to meet the requirements of the DSA,” the statement said. “AliExpress is committed to creating a safe and compliant marketplace for all consumers.”

The EC’s launch of its formal proceedings follows a preliminary investigation that included a risk assessment report submitted by AliExpress in August 2023 and the company’s replies to EC requests for information in November 2023 and January 2024, according to Thursday’s press release.

The opening of formal proceedings enables the EC to take additional steps, and there is no legal deadline by which it must complete it formal proceedings, the release said.

AliExpress was designed as a Very Large Online Platform (VLOP) subject to the DSA in April 2023, at which time the company had 104.3 million monthly active users in the EU, per the release.

“As a platform reaching over 100 million users in the EU, AliExpress must fully comply with the DSA and take proportionate action to fight the dissemination of dangerous goods for consumers’ health and for minors, including by influencers members of their ‘Affiliate Programme,’” Thierry Breton, commissioner for internal market at the EC, said in the release.