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The Future of Paid Media: How Platforms Will Change after Digital Services Act?

By Ugne S
The Digital Services Act (DSA) aims to protect the rights and freedoms of individuals accessing digital services. The European Parliament and EU Member States passed a law in November 2022. Especially, it aims to create a safer digital environment where fundamental rights of users are protected, as well as to ensure that businesses have an equal chance of winning. On 17 February 2024, the DSA will fully take charge.
The Future of Paid Media_ How Platforms Will Change after Digital Services Act

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When will it be announced?

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The first announcement that the Commission declared was on December 15, 2020.

“The two proposals have one goal in mind: to ensure that we, as users, have access to a diverse range of safe products and services online. And that businesses in Europe may compete freely and online just as they do offline. This is only one world. We should be able to shop safely and have faith in the news we read. Because what is unlawful on the ground is also illegal on the internet.”

– Said Margrethe Vestager who is Executive Vice-President for a Europe fit for the Digital Age

Governments enforce transparency rules on social media for better content moderation. For example, suppose you operate an online business within the EU or cater to customers in the EU. In that situation, it’s crucial to comprehend the repercussions of the DSA.

Moreover, the DSA has recently implemented new regulations targeting internet services responsible for content hosting rather than internet access providers. One of the critical requirements stipulated by these rules is implementing a “notice and action” process across all hosting services, including cloud providers, web hosting services, and online platforms.

This process empowers users to report any illegal content they encounter, with the service provider obligated to take appropriate action. Have I got your attention? Then, let’s learn the future of paid media and how the DSA will change platforms.

Timeline for Digital Services Act by European Commission

Digital Services Act Goals: What Are They?

 In favor of users:

  • Improved fundamental rights protection;
  • More options, lower pricing;
  • There will be less exposure to illicit content.

In favor of digital service providers:

  • Legal clarity and rule harmonization;
  • In Europe, it is easier to start-up and scale-up a business.

For commercial users of digital services:

  • More options, lower pricing;
  • Platforms provide access to EU-wide marketplaces;
  • A level playing ground for unauthorized content suppliers.

Enhanced User Safety and Protection

Have you ever wondered about the size of the Internet? Daily, the Internet generates around 328.77 million terabytes of data. That is a lot!

With the Internet being this powerful tool to connect, inform, browse social media, or shop online. How to control all this information to be legal and safe?

The DSA’s proposed law means you will have increased responsibility for harmful content posted by your users. What’s more, it will also establish greater transparency and accountability requirements, promoting a fairer environment for online platforms.

For example, WildLife did an experiment that cover October 2021 to March 2022 to see how many violations content contains. Consequently, algorithms will automatically redact messages that contain profanity, sexual content, or hate speech. During the reporting period, the platform redacted 260,835 pieces of content in real-time.

Overview of Content and Account Violations by WildLife

What the DSA Will Change Exactly?

Firstly, there is no consistent flagging system when encountering illegal content, goods, or services online. DSA will require user-friendly flagging systems for reporting illegal content and counterfeit goods. Platforms will need to process alerts promptly and diligently and keep users informed. Additionally, users will know what they are buying online precisely.

Secondly, did you know that 37% of young people between the ages of 12 and 17 are victims of cyberbullying? The DSA will improve its protection for victims of cyberbullying. For example, users can immediately flag any non-consensual private photograph or unlawful content.

Thirdly, by introducing transparency and ensuring clear labeling of advertising, the DSA will be able to make the process of who is running the ads and the reasons for seeing them more transparent.

Furthermore, the DSA will also ban ads that are based on sensitive data like religion, race, and sexuality and children-based ads that are based on their data. So, if a platform decides to take down your post, it will be hard to cancel their decision.

Lastly, when prompted to read the terms and conditions on a website or app, we often come across a lengthy and tedious document that requires scrolling through. This can make it challenging to understand and agree to the terms, and many of us may not even bother to read it.

The DSA aims to ensure that online platforms with over 45 million users in the EU provide easily understandable summaries of their terms and conditions in the local language EU. In this way, it will help users understand what they agree to.

What the DSA Will Change Exactly?

What Platforms Does the DSA Affect?

As the Digital Services Act (DSA) comes into effect, businesses operating in the realm of paid media are poised for significant transformations. This comprehensive legislation aims to protect user rights and create a safer digital environment, while also ensuring fair competition and equal opportunities for businesses. Let’s delve into how the DSA will shape the future of paid media and the changes that platforms can anticipate.

New legislation may create oversight for large online platforms with over 10% of the EU’s monthly active users, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Amazon, TikTok, Instagram, PornHub, Google Maps, Alibaba/AliExpress, Google Play, Apple AppStore, Wikipedia, Snapchat, and LinkedIn.

Messaging apps like WeChat and WhatsApp are not part of this. Furthermore, despite being large online platforms, Netflix and Spotify are unlikely to suffer significant damage due to low user contributions.

It also includes:

  • Collaborative economy platforms
  • Online travel platforms
  • Accommodation platforms
  • Intermediary services, such as internet providers and domain registrars
  • Cloud and web hosting services

What is Happening Now in 2023 Regarding the DSA?

Moving forward to 2023, the Digital Services Act (DSA) will remain crucial in safeguarding customer data and personal information.

The implementation of the DSA in 2018 has already set specific security standards, such as encryption, two-factor authentication, and regular monitoring. However, now businesses must further demonstrate their compliance with the DSA.

Data protection policy or procedure changes must be communicated to keep customers informed. This is crucial as cybercrime threats become increasingly complex and sophisticated, making these additional security measures essential for safeguarding customers. Therefore, implementing these additional security measures is essential for effectively safeguarding customers.

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Key Areas for Business Owners to Keep in Mind

As a business owner, especially for companies in the EU, staying updated on the latest developments related to the DSA in 2023 is crucial.

Understand the DSA’s scope and obligations

The DSA is expected to cover various digital services, including online marketplaces, social media platforms, and search engines. Ensure you understand your enterprise’s particular demands as per this law.

Prepare for new transparency and accountability requirements

Anticipate the introduction of new DSA requirements regarding transparency and accountability. Consequently, these may involve rules related to content moderation, data sharing, and takedown procedures. Start considering how your business can adapt to meet these requirements.

Be ready for potential enforcement actions

The DSA is expected to grant national authorities enhanced enforcement powers to address non-compliance. Therefore, ensure your business has processes to respond to potential enforcement actions, such as investigations and fines.

Stay informed about the latest developments

The DSA is not yet finalized and may be subject to changes. Therefore, to stay informed about any modifications to the legislation, it is recommended to follow updates from the European Commission and other relevant authorities.

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What Else Do You Need to Know?

In particular, the platform-to-business regulation requires that online platforms’ terms and conditions:

  • They must be written in simple, understandable language;
  • Changes cannot be made without at least 15 days’ notice;
  • Any factors that could lead to the delisting of a business user must be thoroughly explained;
  • You must mention the primary factors that influence the ranking of search results;
  • Information on any platform that sells in its own marketplace may offer preferential treatment to its own goods or services must be included;
  • The platform’s data policy must be explicit – what data it gathers, if and how it shares the data, and with whom.

Furthermore, the Regulation makes it easier for corporate users to seek remedy in the event of a problem:

  • When platforms delist (part of) their goods or services, they must immediately issue a statement of reasons to business users;
  • They must provide an effective and easily available complaint resolution procedure (for example, to appeal delisting’s);
  • They must participate in any mediation efforts in good faith;
  • Organizations representing business users have the legal right to sue in national EU courts to prevent or prohibit noncompliance with the Regulation.



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