Meta reportedly won't make its AI advertising tools
Meta reportedly won't make its AI advertising tools

Amazon, Meta, and Other companies under scrutiny

What To Know

  • The House Energy and Commerce Committee has dispatched letters to major platforms such as Amazon, Ebay, Meta (formerly Facebook), and Walmart, seeking information about their strategies to prevent the sale of banned and recalled items on their websites.
  • A specific concern has been raised about Meta‘s alleged failure to halt sales of two recalled baby products, namely the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play sleeper and the Boppy Newborn Lounger, on Facebook Marketplace.
  • In response to these inquiries, a spokesperson from Meta has stated that the issue of recalled items being sold is not exclusive to Facebook Marketplace.
  • These investigations come at a time when Amazon is facing a potential antitrust lawsuit regarding its sales practices and amid increased scrutiny of the conduct of tech giants.

Online retailers are currently under scrutiny regarding their responses to products that have been recalled. The House Energy and Commerce Committee has dispatched letters to major platforms such as Amazon, Ebay, Meta (formerly Facebook), and Walmart, seeking information about their strategies to prevent the sale of banned and recalled items on their websites.

A specific concern has been raised about Meta‘s alleged failure to halt sales of two recalled baby products, namely the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play sleeper and the Boppy Newborn Lounger, on Facebook Marketplace.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) had issued recalls for the Rock ‘n Play in 2019 and the Newborn Lounger in 2021. Despite this, the CPSC reports that the rate of takedown requests (averaging 1,000 per month) has not decreased, and no “proactive measures” have been taken to prevent these sales.

The Rock ‘n Play has been associated with around 100 infant deaths. Concerns are now being voiced by members of Congress, including committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who worry that online marketplaces might be inadequately addressing these sales, potentially endangering children and all users.

The committee has directed the companies to provide detailed information about their ongoing efforts to block the sale of recalled products, which includes details about dedicated staff handling this matter.

The lawmakers also inquire about the companies’ future plans and whether there are legal ambiguities in addressing these issues. The letters ask if the companies are open to collaborating with the committee to find solutions. The deadline for responses has been set for August 31st.

In response to these inquiries, a spokesperson from Meta has stated that the issue of recalled items being sold is not exclusive to Facebook Marketplace. The company takes this matter “seriously” and removes listings that violate their rules.

Ebay has conveyed its strong commitment to recalls and utilizes a combination of artificial intelligence and investigators to identify potentially hazardous listings. The platform is open to working with the House committee on addressing these challenges.

These investigations come at a time when Amazon is facing a potential antitrust lawsuit regarding its sales practices and amid increased scrutiny of the conduct of tech giants. Additionally, Meta has been scaling down certain shopping features, including shutting down live shopping on Facebook and Instagram. Although these actions are motivated by cost-cutting efforts, they also leave the company’s remaining commerce initiatives in a more vulnerable position.

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