No. 85: The EU’s Digital Services Act and Its Impact on Online Platforms


  • Sebastian Kuclar Stiković
Publish Date:
February 20, 2024
Publication Title:
European Union [EU] Law Working Papers
Stanford Law School
Working Paper
  • Sebastian Kuclar Stiković, The EU’s Digital Services Act and Its Impact on Online Platforms, EU Law Working Papers No. 85, Stanford-Vienna Transatlantic Technology Law Forum (2024).
Related Organization(s):


On the 23rd of April 2022, the European Parliament and the Member States of the EU came to a political consensus regarding the proposal for the Digital Services Act (DSA), initially put forth by the European Commission in December 2020. Subsequently, this proposal received endorsement on the 5th of July 2022. On the 4th of October 2022, the Council of the European Union provided its definitive consent to the DSA Regulation. Mandatory obligations, enforceable across the EU, will be applicable to all digital services that facilitate consumer access to goods, services, or content. This includes the institution of new mechanisms for the rapid eradication of illegal content and the extensive safeguarding of the fundamental rights of users in the digital space. An additional objective is to fortify democratic governance and supervision of systemic platforms, as well as to diminish systemic perils such as manipulation or the spread of false information. The DSA elaborates upon the regulations set out in the e-Commerce Directive and confronts the challenges that have arisen in relation to online intermediaries. The regulatory approach to these services has varied among Member States, leading to obstacles for smaller enterprises aiming to broaden their reach across the EU and resulting in disparate levels of protection for European citizens. The new regulations will be enforced within the EU single market, including online intermediaries based outside the EU that provide services within the single market. Concurrently, online intermediaries will also profit from the definitive legal clarity regarding exemptions from liability, as well as from a harmonized set of regulations when offering their services in the EU. The paper aims to scrutinize the current regulatory framework and the regulations recently proposed, including the European Commission’s strategy for establishing a uniform regulatory environment for internet companies within the European single market. It will evaluate how the new regulations to restrict the commerce and distribution of illegal goods, services, and content online will enhance the virtual experiences of EU residents and businesses, and it will discuss the necessity of these new rules. It seeks to provide insight into whether the Digital Services Act, with its mandate for access to platform data, furnishes the appropriate instruments to achieve its objectives. The DSA has the capacity to transform the internet and affect how the rights of individuals are honored online. The paper will explore how this transformation may unfold.