Digital Services Act enters into force in November to provide increased user rights protection

Press release 28.10.2022 16.03 fi sv en

Minister of Transport and Communications Timo Harakka (Photo: Suvi-Tuuli Kankaanpää, Keksi)

The EU's Digital Services Act was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 27 October 2022 and will enter into force in November 2022. Application of the provisions will begin step by step in the EU, depending on the service provider's size and number of users. For the most part, however, the Act will only apply to Finnish internet intermediaries from 17 February 2024.

The Ministry of Transport and Communications appointed in September 2022 a working group to prepare the national implementation and oversight of the Digital Services Act.

The purpose of the Digital Services Act is to protect users from illegal content online and to ensure users’ fundamental rights. The Act defines clear responsibilities and accountability for providers of intermediary services. The Act applies to online platforms, such as social media services, online marketplaces, internet search engines and other similar applications.

The Act will require online platforms to be more transparent, for example concerning the recommender systems they use. The accountability of service providers will increase for illegal content in their digital services.

As an EU regulation, the Digital Services Act is directly applicable legislation. The obligations are adapted to the nature of the intermediary service and the size of the service provider.

“It is important that large data platforms bear responsibility for their content to protect users and make services safer – especially for children and young people. We need transparency concerning recommendation algorithms that often direct users towards disinformation and aggressive debates. This Act is an important step towards safer, more transparent online spaces,” says Minister of Transport and Communications Timo Harakka.

Protecting users’ rights

The objective of the Digital Services Act is to safeguard the rights of service users. The Digital Services Act improves the protection of children and regulates targeted advertising on online platforms. The Act enables users of online platforms to obtain information about the advertising they see. Users are given the opportunity to report any illegal content they find. The Act will also increase the transparency of online content moderation.

Special obligations will be imposed on online platforms and search engines with at least 45 million users in the EU. These operators must analyse and reduce the risks of their services, for example dissemination of illegal content.

EU will increase regulation

The EU is currently preparing a number of regulations on digital and data issues. The aim of these acts is to make the digital operating environment as functional, secure and fair as possible. Of these, the Digital Markets Act will enter into force in November with the aim of ensuring a fair and open digital single market.

What next?

The Digital Services Act is published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 27 October 2022. The Act will enter into force on 16 November 2022 but, for the most part, the Act will only apply to Finnish internet intermediaries from 17 February 2024. Larger Finnish online platforms must, however, publish information on the number of users of their services in February 2023 at the latest. A working group appointed by the Ministry of Transport and Communications is preparing the national implementation.

Inquiries:

Kreetta Simola, Senior Ministerial Adviser, kreetta.simola(at)gov.fi, tel. +358 50 568 7155

Roosa Patrakka, Senior Officer, roosa.patrakka(at)gov.fi, tel. +358 50 431 7036

Aino Sipari, Director of Unit, aino.sipari(at)gov.fi, tel. +358 50 326 5829