The new law will have sweeping effects on the online services we all use.

The EC last week announced the agreement between the European Parliament and EU Member States on the proposal on the Digital Services Act (DSA), proposed by “the Commission in December 2020. The DSA sets out an “unprecedented new standard for the accountability of online platforms regarding illegal and harmful content,” the statement reads. “It will provide better protection for internet users and their fundamental rights, as well as define a single set of rules in the internal market, helping smaller platforms to scale up.”

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said:  “Today’s agreement on the Digital Services Act is historic, both in terms of speed and of substance. The DSA will upgrade the ground-rules for all online services in the EU. It will ensure that the online environment remains a safe space, safeguarding freedom of expression and opportunities for digital businesses. It gives practical effect to the principle that what is illegal offline, should be illegal online. The greater the size, the greater the responsibilities of online platforms. Today’s agreement – complementing the political agreement on the Digital Markets Act last month – sends a strong signal: to all Europeans, to all EU businesses, and to our international counterparts.”

Creating a “safe and accountable online environment”

Executive Vice-President for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age, Margrethe Vestager, also commented. “With the DSA we help create a safe and accountable online environment. Platforms should be transparent about their content moderation decisions, prevent dangerous disinformation from going viral and avoid unsafe products being offered on market places. With today’s agreement we ensure that platforms are held accountable for the risks their services can pose to society and citizens.”

The political agreement reached by the European Parliament and the Council is now subject to formal approval by the two co-legislators. Once adopted, the DSA will be directly applicable across the EU and will apply fifteen months or from 1 January 2024, whichever later, after entry into force. As regards the very large online platforms and very large online search engines the DSA will apply from an earlier date, that is four months after their designation.

Tip: Big Tech firms face a supervisory fee to ensure compliance in EU