This morning, the Digital Services Act (DSA) was published in the Official Journal of the European Union. This officially starts the countdown for service designation and the DSA’s application.

The DSA will apply to all service providers from 17 February 2024, however, for very large online platforms (VLOPs) and very large online search engines (VLOSEs) its obligations will start to bite a lot sooner.

VLOPs and VLOSEs will be designated as such by the Commission based on how many average monthly active users they have in the EU (services with 45 million or more average monthly active users in the EU will be designated as VLOPs/VLOSEs). The DSA will apply to these service providers four months following their designation.

Here are some key dates to be aware of:

  • DSA entry into force – 16 November 2022 (20 days after its publication)
  • Final date to publish number of average monthly active recipients – 17 February 2023
  • VLOP/ VLOSE designation date  – after 17 February 2023 (estimate)*
  • Application to VLOPs/VLOSEs – after 17 June 2023 (estimate – 4 months following designation)*
  • Application to all service providers – 17 February 2024

*Whilst the Commission can request users figures from service providers earlier, or base designation on information from other sources, we’re expecting the Commission to allow service providers the full three months to calculate and provide information on their average monthly active users. The Commission states in its Q&A doc: “Designation by the Commission takes place on the basis of user numbers reported by these services providers, which service providers will have three months after entry into force of the DSA to provide.” It is, as yet, unclear, how soon the Commission will “designate” following receipt of these figures, but we expect the Commission will act quickly.


John is a media and technology lawyer in Baker McKenzie's IP and Technology team. He is ranked as a “rising star” for TMT, and recognised as a key lawyer for Media and Entertainment in the UK by Legal 500. In 2020 John was elected to TechUK’s Data Analytics and AI Leadership Committee.


Cara is an associate in Baker McKenzie's Technology team, based in London. Her practice encompasses aspects of commercial, technology and intellectual property law. She has a particular focus on advising product counsel, regulatory and data protection issues.