EU launches probe into Aliexpress and Linkedin, targets generative AI threats

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Europe's content regulation efforts target generative artificial intelligence as the European Commission launches investigations into AliExpress and LinkedIn, focusing on AI threats

EU launches probe into Aliexpress and Linkedin, targets generative AI threats
In a move to enforce the Digital Services Act within the European Union, the European Commission has initiated an investigation into AliExpress, the prominent Chinese e-commerce platform.

Additionally, the Commission has called upon LinkedIn, the Microsoft-owned social network, to provide further details on its adherence to the regulations set forth by the 27-country bloc.

The European Parliament Wednesday approved the far-reaching Artificial Intelligence Act. The legislation aims to ensure safety and compliance with fundamental rights and foster innovation while addressing the potential risks associated with the rapid evolution of technology. 

Transparency in handling generative AI threats

"Enforcement teams fully mobilized," affirmed Thierry Breton, the European Commission’s internal market commissioner, underlining the gravity of the situation.

The scrutiny extends beyond these platforms to address concerns surrounding the handling of threats posed by generative AI, a technology notably exemplified by OpenAI’s ChatGPT service.

This technology has garnered attention due to its association with the creation of deepfake videos, audio clips, and images, raising fears of potential exploitation to influence voters, particularly in the upcoming European Parliament election slated for June.

"Requests for information on generative AI have been dispatched to major social media companies and search engines," stated a senior Commission official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Inquiries extend to tech giants

The list includes Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, YouTube, X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, Google, and Bing. These inquiries mark the initial step before formal investigations can commence under the bloc's new online content regulations.

While several companies voluntarily committed to addressing electoral threats linked to generative AI, the commission emphasizes the need for comprehensive explanations regarding risk mitigation strategies.

"The companies must respond by April 5 on how they protect against election-related generative AI issues," noted the official, adding that broader inquiries, including measures to curb the dissemination of deepfake pornography, are to be addressed by April 26.

AliExpress faces first digital services act probe

Notably, this marks the first instance of a Chinese e-commerce entity, AliExpress, becoming the subject of potential Digital Services Act enforcement. Presently, the commission is concurrently investigating X and TikTok on separate grounds.

Regarding AliExpress, the investigation centers on consumer protection practices concerning Europeans' access to potentially illegal products and pornographic content on the platform.

LinkedIn under fire for alleged content rule violations

LinkedIn is also under scrutiny over alleged violations of the EU’s content rules.

Concerns have been raised that the platform may have infringed on regulations prohibiting targeting individuals based on sensitive data like sexuality, political opinions, or race.

Civil society groups filed a complaint against LinkedIn last month, prompting the Commission to request information. The social network has until April 5 to respond to the inquiry.

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