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EU opens probe into Alibaba’s AliExpress over illegal content, pornography on platform

The European Commission has launched a formal inquiry into AliExpress, an e-commerce website owned by Chinese internet giant Alibaba, due to worries about the spread of unlawful content.  

The commission, the executive arm of the European Union, launched the investigation into AliExpress under its groundbreaking Digital Services Act, which went into effect this month. The broad law attempts to keep internet behemoths in check on issues ranging from anti-competitive activity to ensuring misinformation is not prevalent on their platforms. 

The investigation focuses on whether AliExpress may have violated the DSA in “areas related to risk management and mitigation, content moderation and the internal complaint handling mechanism, the transparency of advertising and recommender systems, trader traceability, and data access for researchers,” the commission stated.  

The commission will investigate if AliExpress’ own terms of service, which ban some products that endanger consumers’ health, like as counterfeit pharmaceuticals, were not strictly enforced. 

The investigation will also look into whether there were violations of the DSA that allowed minors to access pornographic material, which the commission claims consumers may still find on the platform.  

The investigation will also look at how AliExpress suggests products to consumers and whether the e-commerce site follows a rule that allows for a searchable repository of adverts offered by the platform.  

A spokeswoman for AliExpress said that the firm has “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.” 

“AliExpress is committed to creating a safe and compliant marketplace for all consumers,” the representative continued.  

This is the third formal investigation by the DSA, following those into TikTok and social networking platform X

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