Digital Services Act: A Short Primer

12 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2022 Last revised: 7 Sep 2023

See all articles by Martin Husovec

Martin Husovec

London School of Economics - Law School

Irene Roche Laguna

European Commission

Date Written: July 5, 2022


This article provides a short primer on the forthcoming Digital Services Act. DSA is an EU Regulation aiming to assure fairness, trust, and safety in the digital environment. It preserves and upgrades the liability exemptions for online intermediaries that exist in the European framework since 2000. It exempts digital infrastructure-layer services, such as internet access providers, and application-layer services, such as social networks and file-hosting services, from liability for third-party content. Simultaneously, DSA imposes due diligence obligations concerning the design and operation of such services, in order to ensure a safe, transparent and predictable online ecosystem. These due diligence obligations aim to regulate the general design of services, content moderation practices, advertising, and transparency, including sharing of information. The due diligence obligations focus mainly on the process and design rather than the content itself, and usually correspond to the size and social relevance of various services. Very large online platforms and very large online search engines are subject to the most extensive risk mitigation responsibilities, which are subject to independent auditing.

Keywords: Digital Services Act, DSA, intermediaries, hosting, due diligence, content moderation, transparency, advertising, amplification

JEL Classification: K20

Suggested Citation

Husovec, Martin and Roche Laguna, Irene, Digital Services Act: A Short Primer (July 5, 2022). Available at SSRN: or

Martin Husovec (Contact Author)

London School of Economics - Law School ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Irene Roche Laguna

European Commission ( email )

Brussels, Brussels 1000

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