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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

A malfunctioning dog leash could end up creating billions of dollars of potential liabilities for online marketplaces, with Amazon front and center.

Background: A dog leash sold and shipped by The Furry Gang, one of the millions of small sellers that operate on Amazon’s marketplace, snapped, permanently blinding the buyer in her left eye.

  • Amazon is responsible for the injury, according to a 2-1 decision from Philadelphia’s Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Amazon’s involvement in transactions extends beyond a mere editorial function; it plays a large role in the actual sales process,” the opinion states.

Our thought bubble: This ruling challenges the company’s longtime practice of effectively outsourcing quality control to its customers and their reviews. Amazon could now be held liable for all the random things that get sold on its site.

What to watch: This isn’t just bad news for Amazon. The whole e-commerce sector — including companies like Walmart, eBay and Shopify — could come under fire.

Go deeper

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Kellyanne Conway's parting power pointers

Kellyanne Conway addresses the 2020 Republican National Convention. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway has seen power exercised as a pollster, campaign manager and senior counselor to President Trump. Now that his term in office has concluded, she shared her thoughts with Axios.

Why it matters: If there's a currency in this town, it's power, so we've asked several former Washington power brokers to share their best advice as a new administration and new Congress settle in.

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP holdouts press on with plans to crush Cheney

Screenshot of emails to a member of Congress from individuals who signed an Americans for Limited Government petition against Rep. Liz Cheney. Photo obtained by Axios

Pro-Trump holdouts in the House are forging ahead with an uphill campaign to oust Rep. Liz Cheney as head of the chamber's Republican caucus even though Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told them to back down.

Why it matters: What happens next will be a test of McCarthy's party control and the sincerity of his opposition to the movement. Cheney (R-Wyo.) is seen as a potential leadership rival to the California Republican.

Democrats aim to punish House GOP for Capitol riot

Speaker Nancy Pelosi passes through a newly installed metal detector at the House floor entrance Thursday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Democrats plan to take advantage of corporate efforts to cut funding for Republicans who opposed certifying the 2020 election results, with a plan to target vulnerable members in the pivotal 2022 midterms for their role in the Jan. 6 violence.

Why it matters: It's unclear whether the Democrats' strategy will manifest itself in ads or earned media in the targeted races or just be a stunt to raise money for themselves. But the Capitol violence will be central to the party's messaging as it seeks to maintain its narrow majorities in Congress.