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The Digital Services Act: What to expect?

The Digital Services Act (Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on a Single Market for Digital Services and amending Directive 2000/31/E, referred to as the “DSA”) introduces material changes to the operating rules of digital services. Due to the fact that the regulation does not need to be implemented into local law (as in the case of a directive), it is directly applicable in all Member States from the date of its entry into force.


The main aim of this regulation is to improve combating illegal content and disinformation on the Internet related to online advertising. The DSA will contribute to introducing more transparency in the moderation of digital content, due to new reporting obligations imposed on digital service providers with respect to the activities undertaken on the Internet.


The DSA applies to providers of certain information society services, that is, any service normally provided for remuneration, at a distance, by electronic means and at the individual request of a recipient. Specifically, the DSA shall apply to providers of intermediary services consisting of services known as ‘mere conduit’, ‘caching’, and ‘hosting’ services, but in particular to very large platforms and very large search engines.


Among the regulations for very large online platforms and search engines, it is worth noting the facilitation of reporting illegal content such as a related complaints system and voluntary crisis protocols.


Most provisions of the DSA come into force on 17 February 2024, however one important obligation for providers of online platforms and search engines came into force on 17 February 2023 (please see below).


Transparency reporting obligations

By 17 February 2023, and at least every six months thereafter, providers shall, for each online platform or search engine, publish in a publicly-accessible section of their online interface information on the average number of monthly active recipients of the service in the European Union, calculated as an average over the previous six months and in accordance with the methodology set out in delegated acts.