MEPs to discuss rules for digital platforms and services 

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The Legal Affairs Committee will present its priorities in the area of civil and commercial law for the future Digital Services Act (DSA) on Thursday.

Ahead of the presentation of his draft report in the Legal Affairs Committee, rapporteur Tiemo Wölken (S&D, DE) said:

"The Digital Services Act will serve as the cornerstone for the regulation of online platforms in the EU. Posting and uploading content is an expression of freedom of speech. Fundamental rights must be safeguarded online as well as offline. For this reason, we must ensure that online content is not deleted arbitrarily, especially not at the discretion of private undertakings, which are largely not held to account. The final decision on whether content is legal or not must therefore be taken by courts.

This is why my proposal contains a clear procedure for moderating content, including specific guarantees for judicial redress against wrongful takedowns. This way we will not only protect the fundamental rights of users, but also ensure legal certainty and the democratic right to access to justice for all parties.

The regulation of online platforms stands at a crossroads. The Digital Services Act is a unique chance to shape the internet into a truly open, free and democratic public space in the EU. I hope the Commission will take the Parliament’s views into account and I am looking forward to the work ahead."

Watch the debate

The debate on the draft report will start at around 12.30 and will be available to web-stream here (Parliament’s Multimedia Centre).

Key demands

In order to ensure the proper functioning of the digital single market, an update of the civil and commercial rules for commercial entities operating online is key under the forthcoming Digital Services Act.

According to the draft recommendations, the upcoming Digital Services Act should include:

  • a regulation on contractual rights as regards to content management providing principles for content moderation, formal standards for a ‘notice and action system’, an independent dispute settlement mechanism, fully respects EU rules on personal data protection and fundamental rights;
  • the establishment of a European Agency on Content Management for auditing algorithms used by content hosting platforms, monitoring and enforcing compliance with the DSA and imposing fines for non-compliance;
  • transparency reports on content management, submitted regularly by content hosting platforms to the EU Agency, and publication of decisions on content removal on a publically accessible database;

In addition to the main recommendation on the DSA, the draft proposal also addresses questions concerning fair data collection by host platforms, users’ rights regarding interoperability and portability, proper regulation of distributed ledger technologies (such as blockchain and smart contracts) and finally private law rules that allow fair access to justice for users.