IGF 2021 Lightning Talk #76 Platform Responsibility for Dangerous Products

Wednesday, 8th December, 2021 (11:00 UTC) - Wednesday, 8th December, 2021 (11:30 UTC)
Conference Room 8

Consumer Reports
Justin Brookman, Director of Technology Policy, Consumer Reports, civil society, Western Europe/other


lightning talk or panel if organizers want to expand

Duration (minutes)



While platforms in many jurisdictions are often legally immune for conduct they host, this may not be true for online marketplaces that sell dangerous or defective products. For instance, U.S. courts have increasingly found Amazon to be legally responsible for harms caused by third-party products sold on its platform. Meanwhile, European policymakers are considering imposing stricter obligations on online marketplaces as well. Does the threat of physical harm caused by unsafe products justify imposing expansive platform liability or stricter obligations for content moderation?

Will present slides with visual aides, would like to make session interactive to allow for questions and commentary

Key Takeaways (* deadline 2 hours after session)

Traditional sellers and manufacturers are often liable to consumers for the damages caused by defective products. Liability law should be updated to include e-commerce platforms, especially when small sellers and manufacturers are effectively judgment-proof.

E-commerce platforms should also have more clear obligations to reasonably police their platforms for harmful products and commercial misinformation (such as fake reviews or inaccurate merchant descriptions)

Call to Action (* deadline 2 hours after session)

Policymakers should update product liability and consumer protection law to account for the role that e-commerce platforms play in modern commerce and the way they have upended the traditional consumer product ecosystem.