The overall digital services partnership aims to ‘create a safer digital space where fundamental rights of users are protected and to establish a level playing field for business’. The partnership includes both the Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act.

The aim of the DSA is to regulate obligations of digital services that connect customers with goods, services, and content.

Last October, the Digital Services Act (DSA) was adopted by the European Council, so what does this mean for Europe?

The act is inclusive of non-EU platforms which provide services to those established or resident in the EU. Impacted services include social network sites, sharing platforms, communication services and cloud computing services.

This framework offers itself as a set of ‘rules’ for the internet. It will provide better protection for users and transparency and accountability on companies.

The DSA aims to:

  • Counter illegal content online by allowing users to flag illegal content platforms will co-operate with specialised ‘flaggers’ to remove this content 
  • Trace online sellers, this will make it easier to find scammers. Online markets will have the responsibility of checking their services are compliant 
  • Transparency on companies, there will be better terms and conditions on algorithms
  • Mitigate disinformation, cyber violence, and harm against minors
  • Ban targeted advertising based on special categories of personal data (ethnicity, political views etc). This covers any type of advertising, from digital marketing to issues-based and political ads.
  • Regulate misleading interfaces that will influence user behaviour – websites will need to be designed in a user friendly and age-appropriate way

Now the DSA has been signed, affected service providers will have until the 1st January 2024 to comply with its provisions.

Companies labelled as ‘very large platforms’ or ‘very large online search engines’ (those with a turnover of 45 million monthly users) will have stricter regulations.

Some of these regulations include:

  • Publishing content moderation reports
  • Provide EU commission with data to assess company’s compliance with DSA
  • Obtain external audits annually of their compliance with DSA

There will be significant fines for those who fail to meet the new regulations, the fines may be up to 6% of the company’s worldwide turnover.

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