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Does the Digital Services Act (DSA) also apply to your company? Online platforms have additional obligations


Digital Services Act (DSA)

The Digital Services Act sets additional transparency requirements for online platforms. The definition of an online platform under the DSA may apply to your business. As a result, you may be required to comply with the additional transparency requirements of the DSA. Read on to find out if your business falls into this category and what steps you can take to stay compliant.

What is the aim of the Digital Services Act?

The Digital Services Act came into force on August 25, 2023 for major online platforms and search engines. As of February 17, 2024, the DSA is fully applicable to other online platforms.

The DSA is part of the EU Commission’s agenda “A Europe fit for the digital age”, which aims to regulate online platforms and intermediaries, as discussed in our previous post. Its aim is to protect the fundamental rights of EU citizens while creating a safe and transparent online environment.

Who does the DSA apply to?

The DSA places different requirements on different online actors depending on their function and size, as these factors have different impacts on the online ecosystem. It is also worth mentioning that, like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the DSA is based on the Marketplace Principle and therefore applies to all digital intermediary service providers serving customers in the European Union (EU). This means that the DSA can also apply to US companies. Accordingly, the DSA has divided online platforms into four main categories:

1. Very large online platforms and search engines

The Commission defines this category as platforms and search engines with 45 million or more visitors per month. The DSA’s official list can be found here.

2. Online platforms

The DSA defines an online platform as a hosting service that stores and discloses information to the public at the request of a recipient of the service. A website where users can create user profiles or interact with other users is also considered an online platform.

According to the DSA, the following categories fall under the term online platform:

  • Social media platforms
  • Online marketplaces (online shops, e-commerce websites)
  • Content-sharing sites
  • App stores
  • Online booking systems for accommodation and travel
  • Collaborative economy platforms

Note: Micro and small businesses, defined as companies with fewer than 50 employees and an annual turnover of less than 10 million euros, are not affected by this requirement. However, all other organizations that fall under the category of online platforms must comply with DSA requirements.

3.Hosting Services
This includes services that store user information on their behalf. This category includes cloud computing services, web, e-mail and server hosting.

4. Brokerage services
This may include Internet access providers and domain name registrars, as well as caching or conduit services.

❗Important note: consentmanager will provide a new feature that will allow users to directly access advertisers’ information by simply clicking an icon next to the ad. This allows users to customize/turn off the ad immediately when they see it.

Additional transparency requirements for online platforms

Online platforms also have additional obligations and expectations regarding ensuring greater transparency.

In accordance with Article 26 “Advertising on Online Platforms” of the DSA, the following requirements are established:

1. Providers of online platforms that display advertising must ensure that the end user can quickly, clearly and unambiguously see, in real time, the following in each advertisement that is shown to them:

a) Information about the purpose of the advertising;
b) the person or organization displaying the advertisement;
c) the person or entity who paid for the advertising, if different from the person or entity referred to in point (b); and
d) information that is both meaningful and easily accessible through advertising; a description of the main criteria used to determine the target audience for advertising and the means by which these criteria can be changed.

2. Online platform providers must provide people who use their services with the opportunity to indicate whether the content they offer is or contains commercial communications.

3. Online platform providers must not show ads to people who use their services, that were targeted based on profiling.

What you can do to comply with the Digital Services Act

The DSA requires online intermediaries to provide clear and simple information about the services they use. Make sure you thoroughly review your privacy and transparency practices. Make sure you get all the important information from your advertising partners so you can effectively deliver it to your users. Our consentmanager solution can help your website comply with and manage the transparency standards required by the DSA and EU data protection regulations such as the GDPR.

Not sure whether your business is subject to the Digital Services Act? Contact one of our experts now!


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