Parliament to outline its priorities for the future Digital Services Act 

MEPs’ demands on how digital services, including online platforms and marketplaces, should be regulated, will be debated on Monday and put to the vote on Tuesday.

With the upcoming Digital Services Act (DSA), the European Union aims to shape the digital economy not only at EU level but also to be a standard-setter for the rest of the world, as it did with data protection.

In two separate “legislative initiative” reports, the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the Legal Affairs committees call on the Commission to address and tackle current shortcomings in the online environment in its DSA package, due to be presented by the end of the year.

Both committees demand a binding “notice-and-action” mechanism to tackle illegal content online. Internal Market Committee MEPs also want online marketplaces to be legally obligated to be transparent and share information with users, such as on unsafe products sold online, stronger rules on consumer protection, and effective enforcement and supervision measures, among other demands. Specific rules to prevent (instead of merely remedy) market failures caused by big platforms must also be tabled, they add.

The Legal Affairs Committee is calling for legal clarity for platforms and guarantees to protect users’ fundamental rights, including access to judicial redress and stricter rules to tackle harmful content such as fake news. MEPs also want users to have more control over what they see online (including being able to opt out of content curation), less intrusive targeted ads, more transparent data collection and a European entity to monitor and impose fines.

A third, non-legislative resolution by the Civil Liberties Committee focuses on fundamental rights issues and calls for content removal to be “diligent, proportionate and non-discriminatory” to safeguard freedom of expression and information, as well as privacy and data protection. MEPs also point out that microtargeting based on people’s vulnerabilities is problematic, as is the spreading of hate speech and disinformation, asking for transparency on the monetisation policies of online platforms.

Procedure: Legislative initiative reports (by IMCO and JURI, (Rule 47 of the EP Rules of Procedure) and non-binding report (by LIBE)

2020/2018(INL) / 2020/2019(INL) / 2020/2022(INI)

Debate: Monday, 19 October

Vote: Tuesday, 20 October, announcement of results on Wednesday, 21 October