Australian online retailers turn to AI and web crawling to identify unsafe product listings


The adoption of new technology by online businesses that had signed up for the Australian Product Safety Pledge resulted in more than 90% of product listings being removed within two business days of being deemed unsafe, the report reported. Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Based on ACCC’s first annual report on the Australian Product Safety Pledge [PDF], an average of 92.4% of the hazardous product lists were removed by signatories within two working days after consulting various sources of information, such as the Product Safety Australia website, as well as regularly reviewing comments customer reports and evaluation reports from third-party vendors.

The report also showed that an average of 96.6% of listings were deleted within two business days following regulatory withdrawal requests.

The report highlighted how signatories turned to technological improvements to help address product safety risks. Some of these improvements included the introduction of AI and image recognition to detect non-compliant products, web crawling technology to automatically search for new global recalls, and the introduction of monitoring tools for block dangerous products.

“We are delighted with the measures implemented by signatories that are helping to ensure consumers have a safer experience when shopping online,” said ACCC Vice President Delia Rickard.

The current signatories to the voluntary pledge, which launched last November, are AliExpress, Amazon Australia, Catch.com.au, eBay Australia and MyDeal.com.au.

Each has committed to taking 12 product safety measures that go beyond ordinary legal requirements – such as the Australian Consumer Law, Competition and Consumer Law and other relevant legislation – and which target prevent the sale of dangerous products online.

Some of the specific commitments include regularly visiting the Product Safety Australia website for information on recalled and / or unsafe products; provide a dedicated point of contact for Australian regulatory authorities to notify and request withdrawals; and cooperate with Australian regulatory authorities to identify, to the extent possible, the supply chain of hazardous products by responding to data / information requests within 10 working days if relevant information is not publicly available.

The ACCC also identified that there were only withdrawal delays for a small percentage of listings, which it said was due to time differences where vendors and support staff were located in different locations. country, and the complexity of identifying the relevant ad due to different model numbers. or because they were listed in different categories and additional internal reviews were needed.

“One signatory identified that delays in removing listings at the request of a regulator occurred when they requested additional information from sellers on the list and sellers did not respond. To overcome this problem, the platform now immediately removes the product, conducts their investigation and contacts the seller after the product is withdrawn from the market, ”the report said.

The Australian Product Safety Pledge builds on a similar initiative launched in the European Union and aims to strengthen product safety measures in online businesses to protect Australian consumers from safety risks when shopping online. line.

Signatories to the pledge include, but are not limited to, online businesses that facilitate marketplace services, or are a hybrid marketplace and retailer conducting business-to-consumer or consumer-to-consumer transactions via the Internet.

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Rosemary S. Bishop