The EU is rapidly driving its Digital Strategy forward. Read our blog series to understand how the Digital Services Act will affect your company.

The Digital Services Act (“DSA”) is one step closer to becoming law after a provisional political agreement was reached between the European Parliament and the Council in the early hours of 23 April 2022. One of the major legislative initiatives under the EU’s Digital Strategy, it will set standards for a safer and more transparent digital space for users and play an important role in the day-to-day business for online platforms.

Under the legislative proposal, presented by the Commission in December 2020, online platforms, such as social media and marketplaces, would need to fulfill a series of new obligations, setting out new standards for the accountability regarding illegal and harmful content.

The DSA follows the principle “what is illegal offline, must also be illegal online” and aims to protect digital spaces against the spread of illegal content to ensure the protection of users’ fundamental rights. From what we currently know about the political agreement, which is still to be translated into a final text, service providers will be required to implement new procedures designed to take down illegal material such as hate speech. A failure to comply with the rules may result in fines of up to 6% of companies’ global annual revenues.

This legislative initiative is closely linked to the Digital Market Act (“DMA”), which aims to regulate so-called gatekeeping platform and for which a political agreement was also recently reached, as well as other elements of the European Digital Strategy, such as the Data Act and the General Product Safety Regulation.

What’s next?

The agreement is now subject to formal approval, which is expected in the coming months.

Once formally adopted, the DSA will come into force 20 days after its publication in the EU Official Journal. The rules will start to apply 15 months later or from 1 January 2024, whichever is later. For very large online platforms and online search engines the DSA will apply from an earlier date, four months after their designation.

The other legal frameworks (DMA, DGA and DA) will be expected soon (2022/ 2023) as well. Together they build a new legal framework for the European digital and data market.