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Digital Services Act


Context: European Commission adopted the first designation decisions under the Digital Services Act (DSA)


Key features of the Digital Services Act (DSA):

Feature Description
Definition A set of common rules on intermediaries’ obligations and accountability across the single market
Objective To tightly regulate the way intermediaries, especially large platforms such as Google, Facebook, and YouTube, function when it comes to moderating user content
Faster Removals and Provisions Social media companies will have to add “new procedures for faster removal” of content deemed illegal or harmful. They will also have to explain to users how their content takedown policy works. The DSA also allows users to challenge takedown decisions taken by platforms and seek out-of-court settlements
Greater Responsibility for VLOPs The law avoids a one-size-fits-all approach and places increased accountability on the Big Tech companies. Under the DSA, ‘Very Large Online Platforms’ (VLOPs) and ‘Very Large Online Search Engines’ (VLOSEs), that is platforms having more than 45 million users in the EU, will have more stringent requirements.
Direct Supervision by EC The European Commission will be responsible for centrally supervising these requirements and their enforcement.
More Transparency on Algorithms VLOPs and VLOSEs will face transparency measures and scrutiny of how their algorithms work, through systemic risk analysis and reduction to drive accountability about the social impacts of their products.
Clearer Identifiers for Ads Online platforms must ensure that users can easily identify advertisements and understand who presents or pays for the advertisement. They must not display personalised advertising directed towards minors or based on sensitive personal data.


Comparison of EU’s DSA vs. India’s IT Rules:

Criteria EU’s DSA India’s IT Rules (Information Technology Rules, 2021)
Scope This applies to all intermediaries operating in the EU, irrespective of their country This applies to all social media platforms operating in India, irrespective of their country.
Content Moderation Social media companies will have to add “new procedures for faster removal” of content deemed illegal or harmful. Large social media platforms need to appoint key personnel to handle law enforcement requests and user grievances.
Responsibility Places increased accountability on the Big Tech companies. Places responsibility on social media platforms
Encryption The DSA does not explicitly address encryption issues The IT Rules mandate that social media platforms identify the first originator of the information on its platform under certain conditions, including cases of child sexual abuse material, which may compromise the encryption security on its platform.