Upgrading the ground rules for all online services in the EU –your organization needs to know this about the Digital Services Act (DSA).

The EU legislators reached an agreement on the DSA, which will govern the digital sphere and increase the fight against illegal content and disinformation. It builds on the eCommerce Directive and provides clear rules for content moderation, platform accountability, illegal products and systemic risks.

The ground rules for all online services in the EU will be upgraded to ensure that the online environment remains a safe space, safeguarding the freedom of expression and opportunities for digital businesses. From a data privacy perspective, these are the changes that must be noted:

  • Online content: Strict requirements have been set for removing illegal content, and platforms should moderate harmful but legal content as per the terms and conditions. The DSA establishes trusted flaggers, which is a group of experts nominated by the national authorities for illegal content. Platforms must react to national authorities swiftly.The new rules include a series of transparency obligations for promoted content, which must be clearly labelled as such. Platforms must explain how it personalizes content for their users via their recommender systems. Very large platforms must also provide an alternative recommender system not based on profiling.
  • User protection: The DSA states that platforms must ensure high levels of privacy and safety for minors without processing additional personal data to ascertain they are minors. Guidelines on how these provisions will apply in practice will be issued by the Commission shortly.
  • There are stricter information and monitoring requirements for online marketplaces. Traders will only be able to access their services after providing some basic information and the platforms should do their best to verify them. Should the platform not make the best efforts to verify the trader’s identity, consumers have the right to compensation for damages due to non-compliance.

National authorities will supervise smaller platforms and the EC has exclusive competencies on very large online platforms. A supervisory fee proportional to the size of the service and not exceeding 0,05% of its worldwide annual net income will be charged.

Micro and small enterprises are exempted from certain obligations, including traceability of traders, and transparency requirements, amongst others. This exemptions extends for 1 year to companies that have grown to become medium-sized.

The DSA applies 15 months after entry into force or on 1 January 2024, whichever is later. For very large online platforms, it applies in 4 months.

EU institutions reach agreement on Digital Services Act

Schermafbeelding 2022 05 13 om 15.27.09 - Digital Service Act