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Amazon, Meta, and Other Platforms Under Examination for Permitting Listings of Recalled Items

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Major online retailers are facing inquiries about their handling of recalled products. The House Energy and Commerce Committee has reached out to e-commerce giants like Amazon, Ebay, Meta, and Walmart, seeking information on their measures against the sale of recalled and prohibited items. The spotlight is particularly on Meta for reportedly not preventing the sales of two recalled child products on Facebook Marketplace: the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play sleeper and the Boppy Newborn Lounger.

These products, recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in 2019 and 2021 respectively, have been of concern due to the high number of takedown requests received monthly by the CPSC. Moreover, the Rock ‘n Play has been associated with about 100 infant fatalities. With such alarming statistics, Congress members, led by committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, worry that online marketplaces might expose consumers to undue risks by inadequately preventing these sales.

The committee has sought detailed explanations from these companies about their ongoing actions to prevent sales of recalled items and to understand if they have specialized staff for this purpose. Additionally, they are keen to learn about the companies’ future plans, any legal ambiguities they face, and if they’re open to collaborating with the committee for a solution. Responses are expected by August 31st.

Responding to the issue, a representative from Meta pointed out to Engadget that the challenge of recalled product listings is not exclusive to Facebook Marketplace. Stating their commitment to the matter, the spokesperson emphasized that Meta actively removes any listings that breach their regulations. Similarly, Ebay expressed to Engadget their serious stance on recalls, highlighting their use of both AI and human investigators to detect potentially unsafe listings. Ebay is optimistic about collaborating with the House committee.

These inquiries coincide with the mounting pressure on Amazon, which might be entangled in an antitrust lawsuit regarding its sales practices. This situation further intensifies the scrutiny of tech behemoths’ conduct. Meanwhile, Meta’s decision to trim certain shopping features, including the discontinuation of live shopping on Facebook and Instagram, may potentially make its other commerce ventures more vulnerable.

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