The logo of the Alibaba office building is seen in the Huangpu district of Shanghai, June 16, 2023.

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The European Commission said on Thursday it had opened a formal investigation into AliExpress, an international e-commerce website run by a Chinese technology giant Ali Babadue to concerns about the distribution of illegal content.

The Commission, the European Union’s executive body, launched the investigation into AliExpress under its landmark Digital Services Act, which came into force this month. The wide-ranging legislation aims to keep tech giants under control in areas from anti-competitive behavior to ensuring that misinformation is not widely disseminated on their platforms.

The investigation focused on whether AliExpress may have violated the DSA in “areas related to risk management and mitigation, content moderation and internal complaint handling mechanism, transparency of advertising and recommendation systems, merchant traceability and with data access for researchers,” the Commission said.

The commission will look into whether there was a lack of enforcement of AliExpress’s own terms and conditions, which prohibit certain products that pose a risk to consumers’ health, such as counterfeit medicines.

The investigation will also focus on whether there were violations of the DSA that allowed minors to access pornographic material, which the Commission believes users can still find on the platform.

Other areas of inquiry include how AliExpress recommends products to users and whether the e-commerce site complies with a rule that allows a searchable repository of ads to be served on the platform.

This is the third official investigation under the DSA, following those found on TikTok and social media platform X.