A new chapter in the digital world: the EU introduces strict regulation to make online platforms more transparent

Published: 16 February 2024

The EU Digital Services Act (DSA) will bring major changes to the lives of users, entrepreneurs and online platforms in the EU, including in Hungary. The DSA, which came into force in November 2022, is entering a new phase, as all its measures will become mandatory for all parties concerned from 17 February.

The DSA regulates intermediary service providers more comprehensively than ever before, particularly online platforms such as online marketplaces, social and content sharing sites, app stores, and online travel and accommodation platforms. The act’s main aim is to make the fight against illegal and harmful content more effective, and to prevent the intentional spread of fake news, thereby ensuring the safety of users and protecting their fundamental rights.

Online giants with at least 45 million users in the EU (such as Meta or TikTok) and popular search engines (such as Google) will have to comply with the DSA requirements from the end of summer 2023. Smaller service providers, including domestic businesses, will have to apply the relevant measures of the DSA from 17 February 2024.

The Digital Services Act contains a number of significant changes for the different parties. The most important ones are, without being exhaustive:

  • The DSA will create a safer online environment for users, making it easier for them to report illegal content, goods and services available on websites. Content posted by users can no longer be removed without explanation, and they can object to such a decision at any time. Online shopping will be safer, and it will be possible to know more about who is actually selling the products that the users purchase.
  • The DSA will provide businesses with a single set of rules across the EU and will fight more effectively against illegal online activities and products – thus enabling legitimate businesses to improve their own performance. It introduces simple and effective new mechanisms for reporting illegal content and exempts small and micro businesses from the most costly responsibilities.
  • It clarifies obligations for online platforms across the EU and introduces strong measures to tackle illegal goods, services and content offered online. It sets new obligations for the traceability of business users on online marketplaces and provides more effective safeguards for users.

The DSA introduced the Digital Service Coordinators, who will play a key role in the implementation of the Act after 17 February 2024. The National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) in Hungary was the first in the European Union to be appointed for this task. The NMHH aims to build partnerships with all interested parties and act as a knowledge sharing centre to support and protect the users as effectively as possible. The authority launched the website onlineplatformok.hu for this purpose, where it publishes informative articles and studies on regulatory news and the conscious use of platforms.

For more information on the DSA, please visit the European Commission’s website and onlineplatformok.hu.