Understanding the 2020 Digital Services Act: Implications and Aims

Implications and Aims

The rapid growth of digital technology and its integration into our daily lives has brought about unprecedented opportunities and challenges. One of the most significant challenges has been the management of content and services on digital platforms. To address this, the European Union (EU) introduced the Digital Services Act (DSA) in 2020, a comprehensive legislative proposal aimed at regulating digital services to ensure a safer and more accountable online environment. This article delves into the background, implications, and aims of the 2020 DSA.


The DSA was formulated as a response to the evolving digital landscape, where the influence of large online platforms, the spread of disinformation, and concerns about user safety and privacy had become pressing issues. The existing legal framework, established before the emergence of many digital services, needed updating to address the challenges brought about by the digital revolution. The DSA works in tandem with the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which focuses on competition issues related to digital platforms.

Implications of the 2020 DSA

1. Enhanced Accountability for Online Intermediaries: One of the key aspects of the DSA is the classification of online intermediaries, such as social media platforms, online marketplaces, and content-sharing services. Depending on their size and impact, these intermediaries will be subject to different levels of obligations and responsibilities. They are required to implement measures to mitigate illegal content, disinformation, and harmful activities on their platforms.

2. Transparency and Traceability: The DSA aims to enhance transparency by requiring digital services to provide users with clear information about the content they see and the algorithms that determine that content. This empowers users to understand how information is delivered to them and allows for greater control over their online experience.

3. Content Moderation and Removal: Digital platforms must establish and adhere to clear content moderation policies. They are expected to remove illegal content promptly and efficiently while providing users with avenues for appeal. This strikes a balance between freedom of expression and the prevention of hate speech, illegal content, and disinformation.

4. Safeguarding User Rights: The DSA reinforces user rights by obliging platforms to offer effective and accessible mechanisms for users to address disputes and report issues. Users can also expect clearer terms of service agreements, ensuring a fairer relationship between platforms and their users.

Aims of the 2020 DSA

1. Ensuring User Safety: The primary goal of the DSA is to establish a safer online environment for users by minimizing harmful content and activities that can lead to real-world consequences. This includes combating illegal content, hate speech, and disinformation.

2. Balancing Innovation and Regulation: The DSA aims to foster digital innovation while holding platforms accountable for the impact of their services. This balance encourages the development of new technologies without compromising user rights and societal well-being.

3. Preserving Freedom of Expression: While the DSA imposes stricter obligations on digital services, it acknowledges the importance of freedom of expression. The legislation aims to strike a balance between preventing harm and protecting fundamental rights.

4. Creating a Level Playing Field: The DSA seeks to level the playing field for both traditional and digital services. By setting consistent standards, it prevents unfair advantages for certain platforms and enhances healthy competition.

Failing to adhere to the 2020 Digital Services Act (DSA) can carry significant implications for businesses operating within the EU. The DSA introduces comprehensive regulations aimed at ensuring a safer and more accountable online environment. Here are some potential consequences of not complying with the DSA:

Legal Penalties: Non-compliance with the DSA could lead to legal penalties imposed by regulatory authorities. These penalties can range from fines to other forms of sanctions, depending on the severity of the violation.

Reputation Damage: Failure to adhere to the DSA’s provisions can harm a company’s reputation. It may lead to negative public perception, which can impact customer trust and loyalty.

Business Disruption: Regulatory authorities may take measures to disrupt the operations of non-compliant businesses. This could involve limiting access to certain services or platforms, affecting the company’s ability to conduct business effectively.

Financial Loss: The fines associated with DSA violations can be substantial and may result in financial losses for businesses. These fines can accumulate quickly if multiple violations are identified

User Trust: The DSA emphasizes transparency and user safety. Non-compliance could erode user trust in a business, as users may feel that their safety and privacy are not being adequately protected.

Loss of Market Access: Non-compliance may lead to restricted access to certain markets or platforms that require adherence to the DSA. This can limit a business’s growth opportunities.

Competitive Disadvantage: Businesses that fail to comply with the DSA may face a competitive disadvantage compared to compliant competitors. Adhering to the DSA’s provisions can contribute to a positive reputation and better user experiences.
Legal Action by Users: If users are harmed due to non-compliance, they may pursue legal action against the business. This can result in further financial and reputational consequences.

Increased Oversight: Non-compliant businesses may face increased scrutiny from regulatory authorities, leading to ongoing monitoring and potential further legal actions.

Loss of Partnerships: Partnerships with other businesses and platforms may be affected if a company is not compliant with the DSA. Many partners may prioritize working with businesses that adhere to regulatory standards.

Complying with the 2020 Digital Services Act is crucial for businesses operating in the EU to avoid legal consequences, safeguard their reputation, and ensure a safe and responsible online environment for users.

The 2020 Digital Services Act represents a significant step towards regulating the digital landscape in the European Union. By addressing the challenges posed by digital platforms and services, the DSA aims to create a safer, more transparent, and accountable online environment. It’s designed to protect user rights while promoting innovation and competition. As businesses navigate the evolving regulatory landscape, understanding the implications and aims of the DSA is crucial for compliance, user trust, and the continued growth of the digital economy.

Your Part in the Verification Process

At Growth Agency, we’re steadfast in aligning with the regulatory framework established by the Electronic Commerce Directive 2000 within the Digital Markets Act. This landmark act, published by the European Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on December 15, 2020, is aimed at harmonising the duties and obligations of online intermediaries offering goods, services, and content across the EU.

In our commitment to uphold these standards, we’re collaborating with our valued partners to ensure compliance with the Digital Markets Act. Our proficient team will seamlessly manage the majority of compliance tasks. However, we kindly request your participation in a few vital steps to streamline the process.

Adhere to the Following Process

1. Email Address Verification: As an integral part of the verification process, we require an email address linked to the domain for which we are engaged to advertise. This email can be an existing one and will be securely stored for record-keeping purposes.

2. Swift Email Verification Code: Depending on the specific partner involved, an email verification code will be dispatched to the aforementioned address. This code serves as undeniable proof that we hold the rightful authorization to promote your URL. The timeframe for this verification process is concise, often requiring your presence on a call with us for prompt execution.

3. Stay Prepared for Additional Information: While our adept team frequently uploads information based on your order form, certain partners may necessitate additional details such as Company Number, Registered Address, Formation Documentation, and VAT Number.

Additionally, having the following to hand:
1. Company Number
2. Registered Address
3. Formation documentation
4. Vat Number
5. Driving Licence/Passport

Why This Matters

Compliance is a collective effort, and your participation ensures a secure and successful advertising endeavour that aligns with the Digital Markets Act.

We appreciate your partnership and collaboration in making this verification process seamless. If you have any questions or need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. Your commitment to compliance is essential, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Applicable states Countries/regions that comply with the Digital Service Act (DSA)
Ads served in the following countries/regions are required to comply with the DSA:
• Albania
• Aruba
• Austria
• Belgium
• Bonaire
• Bosnia and Herzegovina
• Bulgaria
• Croatia
• Curaçao (NL)
• Cyprus
• Czech Republic
• Denmark
• Estonia
• Finland
• France (including French Southern and Antarctic Lands)
• French Polynesia
• Germany
• Greece
• Greenland
• Hungary
• Iceland
• Ireland
• Italy
• Kosovo
• Latvia
• Liechtenstein
• Lithuania
• Luxembourg
• Malta
• Montenegro
• Netherlands
• North Macedonia
• Norway
• Poland
• Portugal
• Romania
• Saba (NL)
• Saint Barthélemy
• Saint Pierre and Miquelon
• Serbia
• Sint Eustatius
• Sint Maarten
• Slovakia
• Slovenia
• Spain
• Sweden
• Switzerland
• Turkey
• Wallis and Futuna

Each platform has its own requirements and processes which can sometimes be laborious, all are tedious but all are mandatory with failure to comply leading to suspension of advertising privileges.

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