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With the recent entry into force (17 February 2024) of the Digital Services Act (“DSA” or “Digitaledienstenverordening”), the European Union has taken an important step in regulating digital service providers. The DSA imposes stricter transparency and moderation measures on all online platforms, search engines, intermediary services and digital service providers that offer their services in the European market.

The DSA aims to counter the distribution of illegal online content and misinformation in order to promote the proper functioning of the European digital market. In this context, the DSA creates an increased transparency obligation for digital service providers, in order to ensure online safety. The DSA applies specifically to online services and intermediary services, such as social media platforms, search engines, app stores and platforms where people can buy or sell products. The DSA has a layered set of rules. In general, depending on the nature and size (in terms of numbers of users), the digital service provider has to comply with more stringent obligations. In this respect, the most far-reaching obligations apply to the very large online platforms and online search engines, such as Meta, App Store, Amazon, Zalando, Google, Wikipedia,… .

Key provisions:

1. Increased transparency
The DSA introduces new obligations regarding transparency. Digital service providers are required to provide clear information about their algorithms, moderation practices and advertising policies. They will also be required to inform their users about why they have removed certain content or why access to an account has been restricted. This promotes a better understanding of how online platforms manage their content and make decisions.

2. Measures against illegal content (duty of care)
The DSA aims to stop the spread of illegal online content and misinformation. Therefore, it imposes a diligence obligation, requiring digital service providers to take a proactive approach to counter such dissemination. It requires them, in fact, to implement mechanisms that allow the users of their services to report specific information if they consider it illegal content. When illegal content is reported through this mechanism, digital service providers shall take subsequent action and remove or block access to the relevant content.


With the entry into force of the DSA, the EU is entering a new era of regulation for European digital service providers. The DSA aims to strike a balance between combating illegal content to ensure the online safety of users on the one hand, and fundamental rights, including freedom of expression, on the other hand. Either way, the DSA will have a significant impact on the digital landscape within the EU.