Digital Services Act as the newest element of the EU Internet Constitution – CURRENT TIME AND SUBJECTIVE SCOPE – 3 PILLARS OF ADDRESSEES

publication date: January 09, 2023

The Digital Services Act, known as DSA, is the Regulation (EU) 2022/2065 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 October 2022 on the digital single market and amending Directive 2000/31/EC.

It concerns three groups of entities. The first of them are the Internet users themselves, i.e. a great number of people who use this tool for various purposes. This legal act is intended to improve their security and the availability of information in the processes of purchasing specific products related to the Internet, primarily information about the sellers themselves. The constitution of the Internet is also intended to influence the transparency of content moderation rules. Another goal is to correctly and understandably inform Internet users about advertisements and sponsored content that can be encountered at every step when using the Internet. Users will have defined and facilitated ways to report illegal content, goods or services on online platforms. If the content posted by the user himself is removed for specific reasons, he will be informed about it and will have the opportunity to challenge such a decision.

Another category of entities for which the Internet Constitution will be of considerable importance are entrepreneurs operating on the Internet, i.e. another broad group of entities. Thanks to this act, they will have the same rules of operation throughout the European Union, which will translate into legal certainty and clarity. This will also increase competition in the digital services market. This act is to encourage such entrepreneurs to voluntarily determine actions aimed at protecting Internet users against unlawful content, goods and services, which is to translate into their more favorable treatment in the case of examining liability for specific infringements in this regard. In addition, the Internet Constitution also defines new mechanisms for signaling illegal content, goods and services.

The last third group of addressees are online platforms. Also in their case, uniform rules of operation in the territory of the European Union are to apply, which will positively affect the certainty and clarity of this law. The act also sets out measures aimed at preventing illegal content, goods and services. This is crucial for the operation of such platforms. Platform users will have the opportunity to challenge their decisions in respect of content moderation. A very important issue addressed in the Regulation is the precise conditions under which an online platform can be released from liability. The Constitution of the Internet also includes measures to ensure the transparency of the activities of platforms, among others, information on the algorithms used for specific content and products. Additional obligations are to be imposed on very large online platforms.

Some of the provisions entered into force on November 16, 2022, and all provisions of the Regulation will apply from February 17, 2024. The provisions being in force since November 2022 already impose some obligations on large online platforms, e.g. providing the average number of platform users in a month.

These provisions also give the European Commission the opportunity to act, e.g. by establishing implementing and delegated acts to this Regulation, charging annual supervisory fees to large online platforms, developing capacity and expertise in digital services, submitting requests for specific information, carrying out inspections and monitoring large online platforms.