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Digital Services Act: European Union and the Commission Takes on Big Tech with New Law Cracking Down on Content

Digital Services Act: European Union and the Commission Takes on Big Tech with New Law Cracking Down on Content

Monday, 25 April, 2022

A provisional agreement for the Digital Services Act (DSA) has been reached between the EU Council and the EU Parliament and the two parties will come to a final agreement when they both approve the deal. What does it mean?


1. Very large online platforms (VLOP) and very large online search engines (VLOS) will be subject to more requirements and supervised by the EU Commission in cooperation with the Member States. All other platforms have further duties as well.

2. Duties of information will be implemented for sellers to be checked by marketplaces

3. Misleading interfaces are forbidden (dark patterns) to protect users

4. Crisis response mechanism is to be implemented by platforms

5. Platforms are forbidden to allow targeted marketing advertising based on the use of minors’ personal data



The GDPR will apply to all internet intermediaries located in the EU. As you increase the volume of service, more obligations will be attached. Large services - more than 45 million monthly active users in the European Union - will fall into the category of large platforms and large search engines. To promote the growth of small and start-up companies in the EU, these micro-enterprises that generate 45 million monthly active users within the EU will be excused from certain new regulations.



To be sure that all its directives are applied uniformly, the Council and Parliament are giving the Commission the exclusive power to supervise VAOs. They will be supervised at the European level, with cooperation from member states. This new system is based on the country-of-origin principle, which is going to continue to apply to other actors and regulatory requirements that are covered by the DSA.


Online Marketplaces


Given that these actors play an important role in the daily lives of European consumers, the DSA will now require a duty of care from online marketplaces. Companies that function as online marketplaces will in particular have to be sure to provide clear information about the products and services that they offer.


Systemic Risks of Very Large Platforms and Search Engines


The legislation outlines a duty for very large digital platforms and services to determine the risks they create and plan to reduce those risks. This assessment should be performed annually and it will ensure the reduction of risks associated with the spread of illegal content the violation of basic rights the manipulation of services that affect democratic processes and public security problems related to gender-based violence, and serious consequences for the physical and mental health of users.


Dark Patterns

According to co-legislators, for online platforms and interfaces covered by the DSA, prohibiting misleading interfaces is an appropriate means of reducing some negative aspects of the digital economy.



Recommender Systems


Recommendation systems exist all over the internet, assisting online users in finding the best content for them. Requirements for system transparency have been set to help make sure people have better information when it comes to choices they might make with regard to user recommendations. A Value Landscape Overlay (VLOP) and Value Landscape Stretch (VLOSE) will need to offer options that are not influenced by a user's personal history.


Crisis Mechanisms

In the context of the Russian aggression in Ukraine and the consequence of the manipulation of online information, a new article has been added to the treaty, outlining a crisis response mechanism. Upon the recommendation of the board of national Digital Services Coordinators, this system will be put in place. This system will give insight into the effect of the activities of VLOPs and VLOSEs and allow a balanced decision of effective action to be put in place to meet the demands of human rights.