The Digital Services Act (DSA) imposes wide-ranging and transformative obligations on online intermediaries and platforms.
As has been well-publicised over the last few months, the most onerous obligations, and tighter deadlines for compliance, fall on services designated by the Commission as very large online platforms (VLOPs) or very large online search engines (VLOSEs).
However, all online platforms and online search engines were required to publish information on their user figures earlier this year, and all online intermediaries in scope should be preparing for full compliance in February 2024.
You can find our short guide to DSA compliance here. The key steps in-scope organisations should be taking now are:
- Determine your role: Even if you are not considered a VLOP or VLOSE, if you are providing intermediary services, hosting services or operate an online platform, you will fall within scope of the DSA. Different categories of service providers will have different obligations under the DSA, so it is crucial to identify which type of service provider you are.
- Prepare for implementation: The DSA will apply to all service providers on 17 February 2024. Once you have determined which obligations apply to you as a service provider, you must start taking steps to ensure you are DSA-compliant by the applicable deadline.
- Future planning and future proofing: It’s never too soon to start thinking about how your current obligations may change going forwards. Consider now how your plans for future products/services may tip you into a different category of service provider (with its own new obligations) or whether the growth of your business will trigger a future designation as a VLOP/VLOSE.
- Understand the practical burden of compliance: for example,
- For online platforms, including prominent ad disclosures identifying the advertiser and main parameters of the ad targeting and updating T&Cs with the main parameters used in recommender systems.
- Additionally, for marketplaces, complying with obligations relating to trader traceability (to obtain, verify, and publish information on all traders offering goods/services on the platform).
These new requirements will have a significant impact on online platforms and marketplaces, involving new processes and disclosures (both proactive and reactive).