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

This information is provided by:Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVONetherlands Enterprise Agency, RVONederlandse versieEffective date: end of August 2023

The European Digital Services Act (DSA) is meant to modernise and harmonise the rules for digital services. The DSA aims to provide better protection for consumers and businesses in the field of online services.

What changes?

The DSA will impose broader obligations on the largest digital services. These very large digital services have been designated by the European Union. They reach at least 45 million monthly active users. It concerns among others Apple, Google, Meta (Facebook and Instagram), Twitter, and platforms AliExpress and

The 19 designated very large online platforms (VLOPs) and search engines (VLOSEs) 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 will also be checked.

The 19 VLOPs and VLOSEs must comply with the rules the DSA sets from the end of August 2023. If they fail to comply, the European Commission can impose fines.

February 2024: DSA for other online services and services

The DSA will also apply to other frequently used online marketplaces, search engines, social networks, cloud providers, internet providers, and content sharing platforms such as video platforms, and online travel and accommodation platforms commonly used in the Netherlands and Europe.

Online marketplaces must collect ánd publish more information about the businesses (traders) on their platforms. Digital services have to explain the rules for deleting information or user accounts in more detail.

On 17 February 2024 all services and platforms must be fully compliant with the EU-wide DSA.

Responsibility and liability digital services

Online marketplaces will have to collect more information on the companies (traders) that sell their products or services through the platform. This should help identify and deter untrustworthy traders, remove unfair competition, and make it easier for consumers to seek justice.

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.

Protection against disinformation, fake news, and violations of fundamental and human rights

The largest online platforms and search engines (VLOPs and VLOSEs) will have to take measures to reduce the risks of their services to, among others, society and democracy. Digital service providers must be transparent about how their systems work and how they handle user data. 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?

  • online platforms, online service providers, and search engines


  • The 19 largest platforms and search engines must comply with the DSA from the end of August 2023.
  • From 17 February 2024 all online services and platform must comply with the DSA.

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