The Dutch competition authority today issued guidelines to help online platforms in their compliance with the EU’s platform regulation and asks companies for their input.
The Dutch Competition Authority has asked platforms and other online service providers to give feedback to draft guidelines that will help companies comply with the Digital Services Act (DSA).
Under the DSA, EU-wide rules that came into force last August, online platforms with more than 45 million monthly average users in the EU, must abide by stricter rules, such as transparency requirements and the protection of minors online.
The Netherlands’ Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) will be the likely national enforcer for both the DSA as well as the Digital Markets Act (DMA), online competition rules aimed at large online platforms.
Any business providing digital services to Europeans will eventually have to comply with the DSA, but smaller platforms will face fewer obligations than the largest. In those instances, the national regulators in the 27 EU member states are the main point of contact, also in helping the commission with collecting evidence.
In its draft guidelines published today, the ACM explains how businesses including hosting platforms and online marketplaces, can get ready for DSA compliance as the EU rules leave room for interpretation.
Marketplaces could for example create an online interface on the sale of illegal and counterfeit products, and make sure that merchants using their services fulfil information obligations via standardised checklists. Social media providers could, in their turn, think of measures to make parental supervision a default setting to protect children online, the draft guidelines suggest.
Companies have until 16 February to give their input to the document; the DSA will be implemented into Dutch national law the following day.
Speaking at CERRE’s Digital Platform Summit in Brussels (17 January), ACM chairman Martijn Snoep said that it’s difficult to estimate how many DSA-related complaints the authority will receive .
“We received over 1,000 complaints linked to online platforms last year, and this number is likely to increase under the DSA,” Snoep said. The ACM aims to have a 50-person strong team in place this year to handle DSA-based complaints.
He stressed, however, that the authority will focus mostly on compliance rather than fines.
The European Commission can apply fines to companies of up to 6% of the worldwide annual turnover whenever they breach DSA obligations.
Rita Wezenbeek, the commission’s director of platforms told the same conference that the EU executive is in talks with member states on how to deal with issues like disinformation, election integrity and child protection online in a uniform way throughout the bloc.
Member states have until 17 February to appoint their Digital Services Coordinators (DSCs), the authorities tasked with enforcement in the 27 EU countries.
So far, 19 platforms have been designated under the DSA as Very Large Online Platforms (VLOPs), including Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, Amazon, Booking.com and Google Play and Apple’s App Store.
In December another three platforms were designated as VLOPs: pornography websites, XVideos, Pornhub and Stripchat, which also fall under the DSA last December. They have until late April to comply with the rules.
Both e-commerce giant Amazon and shopping platform Zalando have appealed their designation. The outcome of the Zalando case is expected after the summer.
In addition, the Commission opened investigations into online platform X, and sent a request for information to Amazon.