The final text of the Digital Services Act (DSA)

Preamble 61-70, Digital Services Act (DSA)

(61) Action against illegal content can be taken more quickly and reliably where providers of online platforms take the necessary measures to ensure that notices submitted by trusted flaggers, acting within their designated area of expertise, through the notice and action mechanisms required by this Regulation are treated with priority, without prejudice to the requirement to process and decide upon all notices submitted under those mechanisms in a timely, diligent and non-arbitrary manner. Such trusted flagger status should be awarded by the Digital Services Coordinator of the Member State in which the applicant is established and should be recognised by all providers of online platforms within the scope of this Regulation.

Such trusted flagger status should only be awarded to entities, and not individuals, that have demonstrated, among other things, that they have particular expertise and competence in tackling illegal content and that they work in a diligent, accurate and objective manner. Such entities can be public in nature, such as, for terrorist content, internet referral units of national law enforcement authorities or of the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (‘Europol’) or they can be non-governmental organisations and private or semi-public bodies such as the organisations part of the INHOPE network of hotlines for reporting child sexual abuse material and organisations committed to notifying illegal racist and xenophobic expressions online.

To avoid diminishing the added value of such mechanism, the overall number of trusted flaggers awarded in accordance with this Regulation should be limited. In particular, industry associations representing their members' interests are encouraged to apply for the status of trusted flaggers, without prejudice to the right of private entities or individuals to enter into bilateral agreements with the providers of online platforms.

(62) Trusted flaggers should publish easily comprehensible and detailed reports on notices submitted in accordance with this Regulation. Those reports should indicate information such as the number of notices categorised by the provider of hosting services, the type of content, and the action taken by the provider. Given that trusted flaggers have demonstrated expertise and competence, the processing of notices submitted by trusted flaggers can be expected to be less burdensome and therefore faster compared to notices submitted by other recipients of the service. However, the average time taken to process may still vary depending on factors including the type of illegal content, the quality of notices, and the actual technical procedures put in place for the submission of such notices.

For example, while the Code of conduct on countering illegal hate speech online of 2016 sets a benchmark for the participating companies with respect to the time needed to process valid notifications for removal of illegal hate speech, other types of illegal content may take considerably different timelines for processing, depending on the specific facts and circumstances and types of illegal content at stake.

In order to avoid abuses of the trusted flagger status, it should be possible to suspend such status when a Digital Services Coordinator of establishment opened an investigation based on legitimate reasons. The rules of this Regulation on trusted flaggers should not be understood to prevent providers of online platforms from giving similar treatment to notices submitted by entities or individuals that have not been awarded trusted flagger status under this Regulation, from otherwise cooperating with other entities, in accordance with the applicable law, including this Regulation and Regulation (EU) 2016/794 of the European Parliament and of the Council.

The rules of this Regulation should not prevent the providers of online platforms from making use of such trusted flagger or similar mechanisms to take quick and reliable action against content that is incompatible with their terms and conditions, in particular against content that is harmful for vulnerable recipients of the service, such as minors.

(63) The misuse of online platforms by frequently providing manifestly illegal content or by frequently submitting manifestly unfounded notices or complaints under the mechanisms and systems, respectively, established under this Regulation undermines trust and harms the rights and legitimate interests of the parties concerned. Therefore, there is a need to put in place appropriate, proportionate and effective safeguards against such misuse, that need to respect the rights and legitimate interests of all parties involved, including the applicable fundamental rights and freedoms as enshrined in the Charter, in particular the freedom of expression.

Information should be considered to be manifestly illegal content and notices or complaints should be considered manifestly unfounded where it is evident to a layperson, without any substantive analysis, that the content is illegal or, respectively, that the notices or complaints are unfounded.

(64) Under certain conditions, providers of online platforms should temporarily suspend their relevant activities in respect of the person engaged in abusive behaviour. This is without prejudice to the freedom by providers of online platforms to determine their terms and conditions and establish stricter measures in the case of manifestly illegal content related to serious crimes, such as child sexual abuse material. For reasons of transparency, this possibility should be set out, clearly and in sufficient detail, in the terms and conditions of the online platforms.

Redress should always be open to the decisions taken in this regard by providers of online platforms and they should be subject to oversight by the competent Digital Services Coordinator. Providers of online platforms should send a prior warning before deciding on the suspension, which should include the reasons for the possible suspension and the means of redress against the decision of the providers of the online platform. When deciding on the suspension, providers of online platforms should send the statement of reasons in accordance with the rules set out in this Regulation.

The rules of this Regulation on misuse should not prevent providers of online platforms from taking other measures to address the provision of illegal content by recipients of their service or other misuse of their services, including through the violation of their terms and conditions, in accordance with the applicable Union and national law. Those rules are without prejudice to any possibility to hold the persons engaged in misuse liable, including for damages, provided for in Union or national law.

(65) In view of the particular responsibilities and obligations of providers of online platforms, they should be made subject to transparency reporting obligations, which apply in addition to the transparency reporting obligations applicable to all providers of intermediary services under this Regulation. For the purposes of determining whether online platforms and online search engines may be very large online platforms or very large online search engines, respectively, that are subject to certain additional obligations under this Regulation, the transparency reporting obligations for online platforms and online search engines should include certain obligations relating to the publication and communication of information on the average monthly active recipients of the service in the Union.

(66) In order to ensure transparency and to enable scrutiny over the content moderation decisions of the providers of online platforms and monitoring the spread of illegal content online, the Commission should maintain and publish a database which contains the decisions and statements of reasons of the providers of online platforms when they remove or otherwise restrict availability of and access to information.

In order to keep the database continuously updated, the providers of online platforms should submit, in a standard format, the decisions and statement of reasons without undue delay after taking a decision, to allow for real-time updates where technically possible and proportionate to the means of the online platform in question. The structured database should allow access to, and queries for, the relevant information, in particular as regards the type of alleged illegal content at stake.

(67) Dark patterns on online interfaces of online platforms are practices that materially distort or impair, either on purpose or in effect, the ability of recipients of the service to make autonomous and informed choices or decisions. Those practices can be used to persuade the recipients of the service to engage in unwanted behaviours or into undesired decisions which have negative consequences for them. Providers of online platforms should therefore be prohibited from deceiving or nudging recipients of the service and from distorting or impairing the autonomy, decision-making, or choice of the recipients of the service via the structure, design or functionalities of an online interface or a part thereof.

This should include, but not be limited to, exploitative design choices to direct the recipient to actions that benefit the provider of online platforms, but which may not be in the recipients’ interests, presenting choices in a non-neutral manner, such as giving more prominence to certain choices through visual, auditory, or other components, when asking the recipient of the service for a decision.

It should also include repeatedly requesting a recipient of the service to make a choice where such a choice has already been made, making the procedure of cancelling a service significantly more cumbersome than signing up to it, or making certain choices more difficult or time-consuming than others, making it unreasonably difficult to discontinue purchases or to sign out from a given online platform allowing consumers to conclude distance contracts with traders, and deceiving the recipients of the service by nudging them into decisions on transactions, or by default settings that are very difficult to change, and so unreasonably bias the decision making of the recipient of the service, in a way that distorts and impairs their autonomy, decision-making and choice.

However, rules preventing dark patterns should not be understood as preventing providers to interact directly with recipients of the service and to offer new or additional services to them. Legitimate practices, for example in advertising, that are in compliance with Union law should not in themselves be regarded as constituting dark patterns. Those rules on dark patterns should be interpreted as covering prohibited practices falling within the scope of this Regulation to the extent that those practices are not already covered under Directive 2005/29/EC or Regulation (EU) 2016/679.

(68) Online advertising plays an important role in the online environment, including in relation to the provision of online platforms, where the provision of the service is sometimes in whole or in part remunerated directly or indirectly, through advertising revenues. Online advertising can contribute to significant risks, ranging from advertisements that are themselves illegal content, to contributing to financial incentives for the publication or amplification of illegal or otherwise harmful content and activities online, or the discriminatory presentation of advertisements with an impact on the equal treatment and opportunities of citizens.

In addition to the requirements resulting from Article 6 of Directive 2000/31/EC, providers of online platforms should therefore be required to ensure that the recipients of the service have certain individualised information necessary for them to understand when and on whose behalf the advertisement is presented.

They should ensure that the information is salient, including through standardised visual or audio marks, clearly identifiable and unambiguous for the average recipient of the service, and should be adapted to the nature of the individual service’s online interface. In addition, recipients of the service should have information directly accessible from the online interface where the advertisement is presented, on the main parameters used for determining that a specific advertisement is presented to them, providing meaningful explanations of the logic used to that end, including when this is based on profiling.

Such explanations should include information on the method used for presenting the advertisement, for example whether it is contextual or other type of advertising, and, where applicable, the main profiling criteria used; it should also inform the recipient about any means available for them to change such criteria. The requirements of this Regulation on the provision of information relating to advertising is without prejudice to the application of the relevant provisions of Regulation (EU) 2016/679, in particular those regarding the right to object, automated individual decision-making, including profiling, and specifically the need to obtain consent of the data subject prior to the processing of personal data for targeted advertising.

Similarly, it is without prejudice to the provisions laid down in Directive 2002/58/EC in particular those regarding the storage of information in terminal equipment and the access to information stored therein. Finally, this Regulation complements the application of the Directive 2010/13/EU which imposes measures to enable users to declare audiovisual commercial communications in user-generated videos. It also complements the obligations for traders regarding the disclosure of commercial communications deriving from Directive 2005/29/EC.

(69) When recipients of the service are presented with advertisements based on targeting techniques optimised to match their interests and potentially appeal to their vulnerabilities, this can have particularly serious negative effects. In certain cases, manipulative techniques can negatively impact entire groups and amplify societal harms, for example by contributing to disinformation campaigns or by discriminating against certain groups.

Online platforms are particularly sensitive environments for such practices and they present a higher societal risk. Consequently, providers of online platforms should not present advertisements based on profiling as defined in Article 4, point (4), of Regulation (EU) 2016/679, using special categories of personal data referred to in Article 9(1) of that Regulation, including by using profiling categories based on those special categories. This prohibition is without prejudice to the obligations applicable to providers of online platforms or any other service provider or advertiser involved in the dissemination of the advertisements under Union law on protection of personal data.

(70) A core part of the online platform’s business is the manner in which information is prioritised and presented on its online interface to facilitate and optimise access to information for the recipients of the service. This is done, for example, by algorithmically suggesting, ranking and prioritising information, distinguishing through text or other visual representations, or otherwise curating information provided by recipients.

Such recommender systems can have a significant impact on the ability of recipients to retrieve and interact with information online, including to facilitate the search of relevant information for recipients of the service and contribute to an improved user experience. They also play an important role in the amplification of certain messages, the viral dissemination of information and the stimulation of online behaviour.

Consequently, online platforms should consistently ensure that recipients of their service are appropriately informed about how recommender systems impact the way information is displayed, and can influence how information is presented to them. They should clearly present the parameters for such recommender systems in an easily comprehensible manner to ensure that the recipients of the service understand how information is prioritised for them. Those parameters should include at least the most important criteria in determining the information suggested to the recipient of the service and the reasons for their respective importance, including where information is prioritised based on profiling and their online behaviour.

Note: This is the final text of the Digital Services Act. The full name is "Regulation (EU) 2022/2065 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 October 2022 on a Single Market For Digital Services and amending Directive 2000/31/EC (Digital Services Act)".

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Cyber Risk GmbH
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8810 Horgen
Tel: +41 79 505 89 60


We process and store data in compliance with both, the Swiss Federal Act on Data Protection (FADP) and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The service provider is Hostpoint. The servers are located in the Interxion data center in Zürich, the data is saved exclusively in Switzerland, and the support, development and administration activities are also based entirely in Switzerland.

Understanding Cybersecurity in the European Union.

1. The NIS 2 Directive

2. The European Cyber Resilience Act

3. The Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA)

4. The Critical Entities Resilience Directive (CER)

5. The Digital Services Act (DSA)

6. The Digital Markets Act (DMA)

7. The European Health Data Space (EHDS)

8. The European Chips Act

9. The European Data Act

10. European Data Governance Act (DGA)

11. The Artificial Intelligence Act

12. The European ePrivacy Regulation

13. The European Cyber Defence Policy

14. The Strategic Compass of the European Union

15. The EU Cyber Diplomacy Toolbox