The European Commission unveiled the Digital Services Act (DSA) on September 15, 2020, along with its sister bill, the Digital Market Act (DMA). According to Thierry Breton, Internal Market Commissioner and the man behind the bill, “the DSA’s common thread is simple: what is allowed offline should be allowed online, and what is illegal offline should be illegal online.” European authorities passed the bill on October 19, 2022.
The DSA distinguishes between “very large platforms”, which have over 45 million active users in the European Union, and others. The law came into effect on August 25, 2023 in regard to the former, who are subject to more drastic constraints. It will apply to others on February 17, 2024.
For now, the list of very large platforms is as follows: Amazon, the AppStore, Bing, Booking.com, Facebook, Google Search, Google Maps, Google Shopping, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, the Play Store, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, Wikipedia, YouTube and Zalando.
The DSA wants to crack down on illegal content by making it easier to report and moderate on platforms. Marketplaces will also have to better track and identify third party vendors. Furthermore, the regulation will require greater transparency from platforms in regard to moderation, content suggestions and advertising.
Finally, the bill will subject major platforms to systemic risk analyses, independent audits and disclosure of algorithms to authorities.