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The Digital Services Act package

The Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act encompass a single set of new rules applicable across the whole EU to create a safer and more open digital space.

CC0 - Europe Fit for the Digital Age: New rules for digital platforms

The European Commission proposed two legislative initiatives to upgrade rules governing digital services in the EU: the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA). 

The DSA and DMA have two main goals:

  1. to create a safer digital space in which the fundamental rights of all users of digital services are protected;
  2. to establish a level playing field to foster innovation, growth, and competitiveness, both in the European Single Market and globally.

What are Digital Services?

Digital services include a large category of online services, from simple websites to internet infrastructure services and online platforms.

The rules specified in the DSA primarily concern online intermediaries and platforms. For example, online marketplaces, social networks, content-sharing platforms, app stores, and online travel and accommodation platforms.

The Digital Markets Act includes rules that govern gatekeeper online platforms. Gatekeeper platforms are digital platforms with a systemic role in the internal market that function as bottlenecks between businesses and consumers for important digital services. Some of these services are also covered in the Digital Services Act, but for different reasons and with different types of provisions.

Why do we need new rules?

The rapid and widespread development of digital services has been at the heart of the digital changes that impact our lives. Many new ways to communicate, shop or access information online have appeared, and they are constantly evolving. We need to ensure that European legislation evolves with them.

Online platforms have created significant benefits for consumers and innovation, and helped the European Union’s internal market become more efficient. They have also facilitated cross-border trading within and outside the Union. This has opened new opportunities to a variety of European businesses and traders by facilitating their expansion and access to new markets.

While there is a broad consensus on the benefits of this transformation, the problems arising have numerous consequences for our society and economy. A core concern is the trade and exchange of illegal goods, services and content online. Online services are also being misused by manipulative algorithmic systems to amplify the spread of disinformation, and for other harmful purposes. These new challenges and the way platforms address them have a significant impact on fundamental rights online.

Despite a range of targeted, sector-specific interventions at EU-level, there are still significant gaps and legal burdens to address.

The accelerating digitalisation of society and the economy has created a situation where a few large platforms control important ecosystems in the digital economy. They have emerged as gatekeepers in digital markets, with the power to act as private rule-makers. These rules sometimes result in unfair conditions for businesses using these platforms and less choice for consumers.

With these developments in mind, Europe requires a modern legal framework that ensures the safety of users online, establishes governance with the protection of fundamental rights at its forefront, and maintains fair and open online platform environment.

What was the process up to now and how were stakeholders involved?

The Commission consulted a wide range of stakeholders in preparation of this legislative package. These stakeholders included the private sector, users of digital services, civil society organisations, national authorities, academia, the technical community, international organisations and the general public. An array of complementary consultation steps were also carried out to fully capture stakeholder views on issues related to digital services and platforms.

The Commission consulted stakeholders to further support its work in this area during the summer of 2020. The evidence was used to identify specific issues that may require EU-level intervention in the context of the DSA and the DMA. European and non-European citizens and organisations were welcome to contribute to this consultation.

Impact Assessments and Public Consultations

Latest

Final reports of the EU Observatory on the online platform economy

The EU Observatory for the Online Platform Economy, which informs the policy work of the Commission, by providing independent views on some of the key questions that have arisen in connection to the platform economy is today publishing the final reports from the expert group following stakeholder feedback and reactions on the progress reports which were published for consultation in July 2020.

European Commission publishes ranking guidelines under the P2B Regulation to increase transparency of online search results

The Commission is publishing guidelines for online platforms on how to improve the transparency of their ranking parameters. Today, algorithmic ranking determines visibility online, which is crucial to the success of millions of businesses, especially as the current pandemic has moved more business activities online. The guidelines complement the ranking transparency requirements under the EU Platform-to-Business Regulation (P2B) and are the first of their kind globally.

New EU rules and guidance for a fairer online economy

The Commission publishes today a set of resources to help traders, online platforms and search engines get the most out of the new Platform to Business rules, which apply from this Sunday, 12 July. In addition, three progress reports prepared by the expert group for the Observatory on the Online Platform Economy are published for feedback. The reports will inform the broader work of the Commission on online platforms and in particular on the upcoming Digital Services Act package.

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Online Platforms

The European Commission wants online platforms to thrive, and users to be treated fairly and be protected against illegal content.