On November 16th 2022, the Digital Services Act (DSA; Regulation 2022/2065) entered into force. This regulation aims to create a safer digital environment where users, businesses, governments, and civil society can flourish. The DSA will apply to VLOPS and VLOSE by August 2023, and to all online services operating in Europe by February 2024.
Acknowledging the immense benefits the Internet has brought to humanity, the DSA builds on the central principles that what is illegal offline, should be illegal online, and that more should be done to tackle the spread of illegal and harmful content online, such as terrorist content and child sexual abuse material.
Who does the DSA apply to?
The DSA applies proportional rules for online intermediary services, depending on the size and type of services an organization offers. The DSA defines four categories of services:
- Providers of intermediary services – Examples include internet service providers, content distribution networks, DNS services, VOIP services, web-based messaging and e-mail services, etc.
- Providers of hosting services – Examples include webhosting or cloud services.
- An online platform refers to a digital service that enables interactions between two or more sets of users who are distinct but interdependent and use the service to communicate via the internet. The phrase "online platform" is a broad term used to refer to various internet services such as marketplaces, search engines, social media, etc. In the DSA, online platforms... More – Examples include social networks, Platforms where businesses and/or consumers can buy and sell goods and services online. An online marketplace can be between businesses, between consumers, or from businesses to consumers. In the DSA online marketplaces are understood as a digital service that facilitates transactions between consumers and sellers by providing an interface for the presentation of goods or services offered by those sellers.... More, app stores, online travel and accommodation websites, content sharing websites, etc.
- Very large online platforms (VLOPs) and search engines (VLOSEs) – Any online platform or search engine that has more than 45 million average monthly users in the EU.
Additionally, micro and small enterprises* are exempt from obligations for online platforms.
Enforcement and Implementation
Under the DSA, all EU Member States will designate a Digital Services Coordinator (DSC) – to supervise the providers of online services and the enforcement of the regulation. The DSC will have the power to carry out inspections, penalize infringements, impose fines or periodic penalty payments, as well as request the temporary restriction of the service in case of a continued or serious offense. Finally, the Commission will be the exclusive enforcer of systematic obligations on VLOPs and has the power to intervene upon DSC requests.
Failure to comply with obligations can result in fines of 6% of the annual worldwide turnover of the preceding fiscal year. Furthermore, failure to provide complete and correct information for an inspection can result in fines of 1% of the annual income or worldwide turnover for the provider.
Key dates for the DSA
- February 2023: All online platforms in the EU will be required to publish the number of average monthly active users using their platform.
- April 2023: VLOPs and VLOSE’s will be designated by the Commission.
- August 2023: VLOPs and VLOSEs will need to comply with the new obligations.
- February 2024: DSA will apply to all online services operating in the EU.
Implications for your business
The DSA imposes a number of new obligations for online service providers and introduces hefty fines to ensure compliance. To avoid these, providers of online services must implement a number of operational changes. Most immediately, providers need to declare a single point of contact and legal representative in the EU, who can be held liable for offences. Hosting services, online platforms, and VLOPs also need to ensure they have well-designed and easy-to-use notice-and-action and complaint-handling mechanisms in place, and that they implement the appropriate tools to process law enforcement, Generally, this refers to individuals or entities that have proven expertise in flagging harmful or illegal content to online service providers. Within the meaning of the DSA, trusted flaggers are entities that have been awarded an official status by a Digital Service Coordinator. Online platforms will need to ensure notices from such organizations are treated with priority. More, and out-of-court dispute bodies’ requests.
Additionally, online marketplaces will be subject to a specific set of rules that will impact the way they design their platform, show advertisements, and deal with traders and consumers. The protection of minors is also central to the regulation and providers will have to implement child protection measures such as Age verification is a process used by websites or online services to confirm that a user meets a specific minimum age requirement. Age verification is typically used in jurisdictions where laws prohibit minors from accessing certain online content or services, such as gambling, pornography, or alcohol sales. More and other risk assessments.
Concretely, providers of online services will have to adopt a streamlined set of processes that allow for continuous compliance, notably with obligations such as transparency reporting and independent audits.
How can Tremau help you?
Tremau’s solution provides a single The field and practices that manage challenges related to content- and conduct-related risk, including but not limited to consideration of safety-by-design, product governance, risk assessment, detection, response, quality assurance, and transparency. See also: Safety by design More Reviewing user-generated content to ensure that it complies with a platform’s T&C as well as with legal guidelines. See also: Content Moderator More platform that prioritizes compliance as a service and integrates workflow automation and other AI tools. The platform ensures that providers of online services can respect all DSA requirements while improving their key trust & safety performance metrics, protecting their brands, increasing handling capacity, as well as reducing their administrative and reporting burden.
To learn more about how the DSA impacts your business, check out a few of our resources on the topic below:
- DSA & Audits
- DSA & Codes of Conduct
- I have a comments section, does the DSA apply to me?
- DSA & Marketplaces
- How will the DSA impact online platform’s policies on minors?
* Micro and small enterprises are those with a staff headcount of less than 50 and a turnover of less than €10 M. They are exempt from certain obligations falling upon online platforms.
Tremau Policy Research Team