On 17 February 2024, the EU Digital Services Act became fully applicable to online intermediaries and platforms (online marketplaces, social networks, content-sharing platforms, etc.) operating in Europe.

The DSA’s main goal is to prevent illegal and harmful activities online and the spread of disinformation. It imposes obligations in terms of transparency towards users (e.g. when using AI or targeted advertisements), illegal content reporting, more effective dispute resolution in an online environment, etc. Micro and small companies will have obligations proportionate to their ability and size while ensuring they remain accountable.

Entities that transmit and potentially store information at the request of their users and by electronic means are not always aware that they fall within the scope of the DSA. Given the complexity of this new regime and its mandatory nature, it is therefore very important for companies carrying out internet or online-related activities to determine (1) whether they fall within the scope of the DSA, and (2) the extent to which they are impacted by these new obligations.

Loyens & Loeff has created an overview of how the DSA might impact your business, which gives insight in the different levels of being compliant regarding the new regime. Consult and download the overview here.

DSA enforcement in Belgium

The European Commission will enforce the DSA together with national authorities, who will supervise the compliance of the platforms established in their territory.

In Belgium, the Council of Ministers recently approved a preliminary draft law designating BIPT (the national telecom regulator) as Belgium’s Digital Services Coordinator, tasked with the alignment of DSA enforcement with the competent regional authorities. The draft law was introduced in Parliament on 31 January 2024.

Pursuant to this draft, a Cooperation Agreement will be executed between the Belgian Federal State, the French Community, the Flemish Community and the German-speaking Community to ensure a smooth cooperation and exchange of information between the various competent authorities for DSA enforcement in Belgium (taking into account the decentralized distribution of powers in Belgium).

For completeness, note that DSA enforcement in the Netherlands will be supervised by the Authority for Consumers and Markets (Autoriteit Consument & Markt), which already published DSA Guidelines for public consultation.

Additionally, and logically (since the DSA is a directly applicable EU Regulation), the draft law provides for:

  • the cancellation of Articles XII.17-19 of the Belgian Code of Economic Law, which included the “old” notice-and-takedown regime applicable to online intermediaries; and
  • a revised Article XII.20 CEL, providing for certain cooperation obligations with judicial and administrative (e.g. law enforcement) authorities. 

What can Loyens & Loeff do for you?

In the rapidly evolving digital landscape, companies encounter numerous challenges and opportunities, both online and offline. With the implementation of the DSA, these complexities have intensified, especially regarding compliance with new regulations governing digital platforms and services. Do you want to delve deeper into the impact of the DSA on your business? Please reach out to our experts for more information, guidance and insights.