The Digital Services Act (DSA): A General Assessment

in Antje von Ungern-Sternberg (ed.), Content Regulation in the European Union – The Digital Services Act, TRIER STUDIES ON DIGITAL LAW, Volume 1, Verein für Recht und Digitalisierung e.V., Institute for Digital Law (IRDT), Trier April 2023

33 Pages Posted: 12 Apr 2023 Last revised: 22 Jul 2023

See all articles by Florence G'sell

Florence G'sell

Stanford Cyber Policy Center; University of Lorraine; Sciences Po School of Public Affairs

Date Written: April 15, 2023

Abstract

Effective since November 16, 2022, the Digital Services Act (DSA) introduces an innovative and pragmatic regulatory approach, utilizing novel and ingenious mechanisms to update and complement the current rules governing online platforms while adapting to their present characteristics. This article presents and comments the main features of the DSA, while highlighting the potential challenges that could arise during its implementation. The first section outlines the five key aspects of the DSA, including the asymmetric nature of the Regulation, which adjusts rules and obligations to suit the size and activities of regulated entities; the preservation of the exemption from liability established by the E-Commerce Directive, along with the inclusion of a new Good Samaritan clause; the creation of new obligations in content moderation to ensure the effective combating of objectionable content and the protection of users' rights; the establishment of specific obligations to protect users and consumers and respond to crisis situations; and finally, the original provisions concerning the enforcement of the DSA. The second part of the article concentrates on identifying the potential challenges of implementing the DSA, focusing specifically on obstacles that could hinder the text's effective application, potential difficulties arising from provisions related to managing systemic risks, and the complex adaptation of the DSA to emerging technologies. Ultimately, while the DSA is undoubtedly an innovative, necessary, and commendable initiative, its ability to address the most pressing issues of the contemporary internet will only become clear upon its practical implementation.

Keywords: platform regulation, European Unions, E-Commerce Directive, content moderation, social media

JEL Classification: K19

Suggested Citation

G'sell, Florence, The Digital Services Act (DSA): A General Assessment (April 15, 2023). in Antje von Ungern-Sternberg (ed.), Content Regulation in the European Union – The Digital Services Act, TRIER STUDIES ON DIGITAL LAW, Volume 1, Verein für Recht und Digitalisierung e.V., Institute for Digital Law (IRDT), Trier April 2023, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4403433 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4403433

Florence G'sell (Contact Author)

Stanford Cyber Policy Center ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

University of Lorraine ( email )

13 place Carnot
Nancy, 54000
France

HOME PAGE: http://www.gsell.tech

Sciences Po School of Public Affairs ( email )

28 Rue des Saint-Peres
Paris, Paris 75006
France

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.sciencespo.fr/public/chaire-numerique/en/

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