Digital Services Act: new rules for online content responsibility

The Digital Services Act (DSA), the new European Union regulation, in force from 25 August 2023, redefines the rules on responsibility for online content. This regulatory act represents a significant turning point. In fact, the previous approach, developed in the 1990s, no longer adequately responded to the challenges posed by web platforms.

The new rules for online platforms

The Digital Services Act already entered into force on 16 November 2022. But from 25 August it will begin to make its effects felt, bringing with it a series of new rules affecting online platforms. Contrary to previous provisions, this new regulation will be uniformly applied in all member states of the European Union . The provision will guarantee users the same rights everywhere and companies greater regulatory coherence. The platforms involved go beyond social networks and also include search engines , marketplaces and hosting services . However, the provisions will not be uniform for everyone. The largest platforms, the so-called “Very Large Online Platforms” (VLOP) and “Very Large Online Search Engines” (VLOSE), which exceed 45 million monthly active users in Europe, will be subject to more stringent requirements.

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What does the Digital Services Act provide?

The Digital Services Act (DSA) introduces a series of new requirements for online platforms, especially for VLOPs and VLOSEs. These large platforms are now required to set up a “contact point” dedicated to reports from authorities and users. This point of contact will act as an intermediary between the platforms and those who report illegal or harmful content, ensuring timely removal of such content. The main objective of the DSA is to tackle the spread of harmful content online, as well as protect privacy and freedom of expression. The regulation aims to promote a competitive innovation environment and prevent abuses of dominant positions by large platforms. They will need to adopt more efficient reporting systems and transparent content moderation practices. This will help ensure that harmful content is quickly identified and removed.

Additionally, the DSA promotes transparency regarding how algorithms work, thereby limiting the use of algorithms that could amplify misinformation or promote polarization. One of the pillars of the DSA is the political vision that underlies its creation. The European Union seeks to assert its digital sovereignty, establishing its own norms in the digital world rather than adapting to global standards imposed by others. Digital sovereignty is not just a matter of regulation, it also involves protecting user privacy and fostering European innovation . In fact, the European Union seeks to reduce dependence on foreign technologies and services, promoting the development of digital solutions in line with its standards. This approach aims to ensure that digital decisions are taken within the EU, respecting European laws and values.

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The impact of the Digital Services Act on Big Tech

The DSA marks a new beginning for “Big Tech”, the technology companies with a leading role in the current digital landscape. These companies include social networks like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter , but also booking services like Booking.com and marketplaces like Amazon and Alibaba. Starting August 25, all these companies will have to comply with the new regulations. The VLOP and VLOSE platforms, in particular, will receive particular attention. Their vast reach and influence in the digital space makes them subject to more stringent requirements. These will allow us to guarantee user safety and compliance with content responsibility rules.

Platforms will be required to demonstrate transparency in their content moderation processes. Big Tech will have to review and restructure their business practices to comply with the new regulations. This could involve creating teams dedicated to regulatory compliance, implementing new tools for monitoring content and reviewing data use policies.

The article Digital Services Act: new rules for online content responsibility was written on: Tech CuE | Close-up Engineering .