The Digital Services Act (DSA) was published in the Official Journal of the European Union today. It will enter into force on 16 November 2022, i.e. 20 days from the date of publication in the Official Journal.

Who will be affected?

The DSA will apply to a range of providers of digital “intermediary services” (which will include mere conduit services, caching services and hosting services), where such services are offered to natural or legal person recipients that are established or located in the EU. Broadly, the obligations set out in the DSA are proportionate to the scale of the user base of the service provider. The most significant obligations will fall on:

  • Very Large Online Providers (VLOPs) – these are online platforms that store and disseminate user-generated content to the public at the request of a user. The platform must have 45+ million active monthly users in the EU in order to qualify as a VLOP.
  • Very Large Online Search Engines (VLOSEs) – these are online search engines that consist of 45+ million active monthly users in the EU.

An intermediary provider will be designated as a VLOP or VLOSE in accordance with Article 33(4) of the DSA.

When will it come into effect?

The DSA will come into effect from 17 February 2024. However, the following provisions will apply from 16 November 2022:

(i) transparency reporting obligations of online platforms;
(ii) delegated acts;
(iii) designation of VLOPs and VLOSEs;
(iv) supervisory fees; and
(v) certain enforcement obligations.

Once designated, relevant obligations will apply to VLOPs/VLOSEs from four months after their designation in accordance with Article 33(4) DSA (where that date is earlier than 17 February 2024).

For more information on this topic, please contact Andrea Lawler, Partner, Commercial & Technology, Caitríona Lavelle, Solicitor, Commercial & Technology or any member of A&L Goodbody’s Commercial & Technology team.