The incoming EU Digital Services Act imposes various standards for accountability across online platforms, with a view to better protecting users online.
This legislation will affect both EU and non-EU providers of online intermediary services, hosting services and online platforms (such as social media and online marketplaces) that provide services to businesses or consumers established in the EU.
What does the Digital Services Act aim to achieve?
The legislation contains a series of obligations relating to the removal of illegal content (for example counterfeited and hazardous products), the promotion of a more transparent approach to advertising, and the processes that must be followed in connection with tackling disinformation.
In addition, certain online marketplaces will be required to trace their traders/suppliers under the “know your customer” principle, and will be prohibited from using what are known as “dark patterns” to manipulate users and their online behaviour. In this context, “dark patterns” is a term used to refer to the ways in which software can subtly trick users into doing things they didn’t intend to do, or discourage certain user behaviours.
When does this legislation come into force?
For most organisations to which the Digital Services Act will apply, the obligations are scheduled to come into force in early 2024. However, certain ‘very large’ platforms will potentially need to comply earlier (within 4 months of notification from the European Commission).
Moreover, relevant online service providers will need to disclose their average monthly active user figures to the EU within three months of the date of the Act’s publication in the EU Official Journal.
What should you do now if this legislation applies to you?
Our team can help you to understand whether the Digital Services Act will impact your business and if so, what you will need to do between now and 2024.
Want to know more? Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how we can help you.
Written by Alexandra Radulescu