The EU’s Digital Services Act goes into effect today

From The Verge:

The European Union’s Digital Services Act (DSA) has officially gone into effect. Starting on August 25th, 2023, tech giants like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and more must comply with sweeping legislation that holds online platforms legally accountable for the content posted to them.

. . . .

What is the Digital Services Act?

The overarching goal of the DSA is to foster safer online environments. Under the new rules, online platforms must implement ways to prevent and remove posts containing illegal goods, services, or content while simultaneously giving users the means to report this type of content.

Additionally, the DSA bans targeted advertising based on a person’s sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, or political beliefs and puts restrictions on targeting ads to children. It also requires online platforms to provide more transparency on how their algorithms work.

The DSA carves out additional rules for what it considers “very large online platforms,” forcing them to give users the right to opt out of recommendation systems and profiling, share key data with researchers and authorities, cooperate with crisis response requirements, and perform external and independent auditing.

Which online platforms are affected?

The EU considers very large online platforms (or very large online search engines) as those with over 45 million monthly users in the EU. So far, the EU has designed 19 platforms and search engines that fall into that category, including the following:

  • Alibaba AliExpress
  • Amazon Store
  • Apple App Store
  • Facebook
  • Google Play
  • Google Maps
  • Google Shopping
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Snapchat
  • TikTok
  • Twitter
  • Wikipedia
  • YouTube
  • Zalando
  • Bing
  • Google Search

The EU will require each of these platforms to update their user numbers at least every six months. If a platform has less than 45 million monthly users for an entire year, they’ll be removed from the list.

What are online platforms doing to comply?

Many of these companies have already outlined the ways in which they’re going to comply with the DSA. Here’s a brief overview of the most notable ones.


While Google says it already complies with some of the policies envisioned by the DSA, including the ability to give YouTube creators to appeal video removals and restrictions, Google announced that it’s expanding its Ads Transparency Center to meet the requirements outlined by the legislation.

The company also committed to expanding data access to researchers to provide more information about “how Google Search, YouTube, Google Maps, Google Play and Shopping work in practice.” It will also improve its transparency reporting and analyze potential “risks of illegal content dissemination, or risks to fundamental rights, public health or civic discourse.”


Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, is working to expand its Ad Library, which currently compiles the ads shown on its platforms. The company will soon start displaying and archiving all the ads that target users in the EU while also including the parameters used to target the ads, as well as who was served the ad.

In June, Meta released a lengthy report about how its algorithm works across Facebook and Instagram as part of its push toward transparency. It will also start allowing European users to view content chronologically on Reels, Stories, and Search on both Facebook and Instagram — without being subject to its personalization engine.


Similar to the measures Meta is rolling out, TikTok has also announced that it’s making its algorithm optional for users in the EU. When the algorithm is disabled, users will see videos from “both the places where they live and around the world” in their For You and Live feeds instead of videos based on personal interests.

It will also enable users to view content chronologically on their Following and Friends feeds. TikTok is making some changes to its advertising policies as well. For European users aged 13 to 17, TikTok will stop showing personalized ads based on their activity in the app.

Link to the rest at The Verge

5 thoughts on “The EU’s Digital Services Act goes into effect today”

  1. Hmm. I’ve not done any detailed reading of their new dictate, but a casual look seems to imply that Amazon can no longer have categories like “LGBTQ+” in their online store. That definitely targets by “sexual identity.”

    Oh, come to think of it, “Harem Fiction” would also be banned – excludes the asexuals, you know…

  2. The EU DMA is DOA.
    As usual, the Law of Unintended Consequences made it a joke.
    The intent was allegedly to “rein in” American Big Tech, especially the Phone OS monopolies and force them to open up, even just a bit, their walled gardens.
    Apple found a way to actually make their realm even more hostile to other companies.,their%20revenue%20to%20Apple%20Banning%20alternative%20payment%20methods

    They actually make Facebook look like good guys.
    The list of naysayers is, well, everybody from Spotify to Microsoft and everybody in between.
    They complied with the letter of the law in the worst way by substitution a percentage vig with a fixed fee per install.

    “Given that the bulk of the lifetime value of a typical subscription user is in the renewals, this essentially means that the “fee relief” that Apple’s new policy provides is just 2%, from 15% to 13%. In exchange, developers must now pay €0.50 per install.”

    And of course, Google will follow suit right away.
    The other platforms? Minor cosmetic changes.
    The phone OSes were the big target and they flubbed it.

    They may brag all they want but they need to go back to the drawing board or give it up. They’re not smart enough.

    • I expect to see large online organizations working on better and better geo-fencing technology. Reality for the rest of the world, pablum for the EU.

      • TikTok already said as much.
        Of course, being CCP-ruled, their assurances are worth as much as the paper they aren’t written on.

      • But PG, when it comes to commercially-conceived-and-distributed works in the arts, all too often “reality” is “pablum.” Ask Erich Segal. (Believe me, it’s worse than its reputation.)

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