Digital Services Act (DSA) Drops… VLOPs numbers and more!

February 17, 2023, marked the end of the 3-month deadline for social media platforms operating in the EU to report the number of active end users on their websites, a requirement under the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA).

Based on the reported user numbers, the Commission will make an assessment as to whether a platform should be designated a very large online platform or search engine (more than 45 million users). For any categorized as very large online platforms or search engines, further obligations include wide-ranging annual assessments of the risks for online harms on their services – for example with regard to exposure to illegal goods or content or the dissemination of disinformation. Under the DSA, suitable risk mitigation measures will have to be put in place, and subject to independent auditing of their services and mitigation measures.

Following such a designation decision by the Commission, the platform has four months to comply with the obligations under the DSA, including carrying out and providing the Commission with the first annual risk assessment exercise. 

“The DSA applies to all digital services that connect consumers to goods, services, or content. It creates comprehensive new obligations for online platforms to reduce harms and counter risks online, introduces strong protections for users’ rights online, and places digital platforms under a unique new transparency and accountability framework.”

All online platforms (whether above or below 45 million users) will have to comply with wide-ranging new transparency obligations to increase accountability and oversight, for example with new flagging mechanism for illegal content.

Dr. Martin Husovec, Assistant Professor of Law at The London School of Economics and Political Science Law School, released a fantastic paper that summarizes and explains the meanings behind the DSA numbers that have been released, including why some are lower than expected.

Download from SSRN: The DSA’s Scope Briefly Explained

It’s worth a read and helps breakdown some of the complex nuances behind the DSA.