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EU Digital Services Act (DSA): new rules for digital service providers

This information is provided by:Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVONetherlands Enterprise Agency, RVONederlandse versieEffective date: 17 February 2024

What has changed?

Businesses and consumers using online services and platforms will get more protection. Providers of online services and digital platforms must comply with the rules set by the European Digital Services Act (DSA). The DSA is also known as the Digital services regulation (Digitaledienstenverordening).

The DSA is meant to modernise and harmonise the rules for digital services such as online platforms, online marketplaces, social media services and internet service providers.

The DSA has been introduced in phases.

  • From 25 August 2023 the DSA applies to the 19 very largest digital services.
  • From 17 February 2024 all online services and digital platforms that offer services in the EU had to be fully compliant with the DSA. For instance online marketplaces, search engines, social networks, cloud providers, internet providers, and content sharing platforms such as video platforms, and online travel and accommodation platforms.

Online platforms and search engines must:

  • target illegal content and disinformation in the EU
  • adapt their recommendation services
  • be transparent about online advertising via their services
  • conduct annual risk assessments of harmful online practices on their services. For example, when it comes to illegal goods or content, and spreading disinformation
  • take measures against harmful online practices on their services

The algorithmic systems they use are also checked. These very largest parties are mainly under the supervision of the European Commission (EC). If they fail to comply, the EC can impose fines. In the Netherlands the Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) and the Dutch Data Protection Authority (AP) will supervise compliance with the DSA.

Online marketplaces must collect and publish more information

Online marketplaces must collect more information on the companies (traders) that sell their products or services through the platform. They must also publish more information on the traders. This should help identify and deter untrustworthy traders, remove unfair competition, and make it easier for consumers to seek justice, if something goes wrong.

Tackling undesirable personalised advertising

The DSA prohibits online platforms from personalising ads based on, for example, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation. For minors the DSA offers extra protection against personalised ads. This should help ensure that they see no inappropriate advertising.

Moderating of content against violations of fundamental and human rights

Digital service providers must be transparent about how their recommendation algorithms work. The DSA also requires digital service providers to take into account the fundamental rights of their users when moderating content, and they must inform their users about this in more detail. They also must offer easily accessible and user-friendly complaints procedures for consumers.

For whom?

  • hosting providers
  • internet service providers
  • online platforms
  • online services
  • search engines
  • online marketplaces
  • social networks
  • cloud services providers
  • content sharing platforms

When?

From 17 February 2024 all online services and platform must comply with the DSA.

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