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Digital Service Act

Digital Service Act

Since 17 February 2024, the Digital Services Act (DSA) has extended its reach to encompass medium-sized and smaller online platforms. This expansion of the DSA’s scope introduces new obligations aimed at protecting users’ fundamental rights and fostering a safer online environment. In this article, our Product Compliance Attorneys in the Netherlands delve into the implications of the DSA for these platforms and explore the key changes they need to consider.

Who Does the DSA Apply to?

The DSA initially targeted the 19 largest platforms, such as Google and Facebook, as of August 2023. However, its recent expansion means that from 17 February 2024, medium-sized and smaller platforms are also subject to its regulations. These platforms, with fewer than 45 million users, include well-known entities like Marktplaats,, and eBay. Importantly, the DSA’s jurisdiction extends to any provider of online platforms catering to EU users, irrespective of the platform’s physical location.

Harmonizing with International Regulations

The DSA forms part of a comprehensive regulatory framework governing digital services, alongside regulations like the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Platform-2-Business Regulation (P2B Regulation). While the DMA focuses on promoting competition among gatekeepers, the DSA prioritizes safeguarding end users’ interests. Notably, the DSA’s implementation does not negate existing European regulations; instead, it complements them to ensure a cohesive approach to digital governance.

Navigating New Obligations Under the DSA

Design and Organization of Online Interfaces (Article 25)

Article 25 of the DSA introduces stringent requirements concerning the design and organization of online interfaces. Platforms must refrain from employing dark patterns or manipulative practices that could mislead or coerce users. The aim is to maintain user autonomy and decision-making integrity, prohibiting tactics like biased choice presentation and deceptive prompts.

Advertising Standards (Article 26)

Under Article 26, the DSA imposes stricter rules on advertising displayed on online platforms. Advertisements must be clearly discernible and explicitly labeled as such, ensuring transparency for users. Platforms are prohibited from using personal data for profiling in advertising, particularly sensitive categories covered by GDPR Article 9.

Transparency of Recommendation Systems (Article 27)

Article 27 mandates greater transparency in the operation of recommendation systems, addressing concerns about biased rankings and algorithmic opacity. Platforms must disclose key parameters influencing content prioritization and provide users with control over their preferences. Misleading designations and undisclosed profiling practices are strictly prohibited.

Preparing for Enforcement

With the impending enforcement of the DSA, platforms must proactively align with its provisions to avoid penalties. ACM’s forthcoming enforcement powers underscore the urgency for compliance, with potential penalties reaching up to 6% of global turnover. Adhering to the DSA’s principles not only mitigates legal risks but also fosters trust and accountability in the digital ecosystem.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How does the DSA define medium-sized and smaller platforms?

  • The DSA categorizes platforms with fewer than 45 million users as medium-sized or smaller.

2. What are dark patterns, and why are they prohibited under the DSA?

  • Dark patterns refer to manipulative design techniques aimed at influencing user behavior. They are prohibited under the DSA to uphold user autonomy and prevent deceptive practices.

3. How can platforms ensure compliance with the DSA’s advertising standards?

  • Platforms should clearly label advertisements, refrain from using sensitive personal data for profiling, and provide transparent information about sponsored content.

Contact our Product Compliance Law Firm in the Netherlands

For any legal inquiries or support in the Netherlands regarding the Digital Service Act, please feel free to contact our adept team at MAAK Advocaten. Committed to excellence, our Dutch lawyers provide superior legal services tailored to your distinct needs. You can reach our law firm in the Netherlands through our website, by email, or phone.

Our approachable and skilled staff at MAAK Attorneys will be delighted to assist you, arranging a meeting with one of our specialized attorneys in the Netherlands. Whether you need a Dutch litigation attorney or a Dutch contract lawyer in Amsterdam, we are eager to guide you through the legal intricacies and secure the most favorable results for your situation.

Contact details

Remko Roosjen | attorney-at-law (‘advocaat’)
+31 (0)20 – 210 31 38

The information on this legal blog serves purely for educational purposes and should not be taken as specific legal guidance. While we endeavor to maintain accurate and current information, we do not assert its absolute completeness or relevance to your particular situation. For advice tailored to your legal concerns, we urge you to engage with a licensed attorney. Please note that the blog’s content may change without notice, and we are not liable for any inaccuracies or missing information.

Remko Roosjen

Remko Roosjen

Remko Roosjen is a Dutch contract attorney in the Netherlands and creates close working relationships with clients, providing pragmatic solutions across on all legal matters in the Netherlands. Remko is a partner of our Commercial law firm in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. His specialist areas include Dutch Contract Law, including Dutch Commercial Contracting and Legal Disputes, including civil litigation, arbitration and mediation. Remko is a sharp, creative Dutch attorney with extensive cross-border experience representing both foreign plaintiffs and defendants. Visit Remko's profile via the website or via his LinkedIn Profile.