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The Digital Services Act passed last year is already relevant for so called “very large online platforms and search engines” since 25 August 2023. These services already need to comply with all new obligations under the act.

Last year, the European Union passed the Digital Services Act, or DSA for short. The EU regulation aims to counter the spread of illegal content and products by imposing transparency and action obligations on the operators of intermediary services. To determine the scope of each platform’s obligations, all operators were required to publish the number of their active users by 17 February 2023. The obligations under the DSA for very large online platforms and online search engines must be implemented four months after the designation decision by the EU Commission

The Commission adopted the first designation decisions under the DSA on 25 April 2023, designating 17 very large online platforms and two very large online search engines that reach at least 45 million monthly active users. These include Facebook, Google, Amazon and other well-known social media platforms and marketplaces. The designated operators’ transposition deadline expired on 25 August 2023, meaning that they must now comply with all new obligations under the Act

Designated operators must have their systems, resources and procedures in place to comply with the provisions contained in the DSA since 25 August 2023. The obligations that the operators must fulfil were again specified in the EU Commission’s press release of 25 April 2023. In summary, the implementation of these obligations is intended to strengthen the users’ ability to act, to clearly label advertising, to strengthen the protection of minors, to prevent disinformation and to increase transparency through independent checks and reports. In the event of violations or inadequate implementation of the DSA, fines of up to 6 % of the worldwide annual turnover can be imposed, depending on the type and severity of the violation

According to the analysis document of the Interdepartmental Coordination Group EU Digital Policy (IC-EUDP), it is to be expected that the designated online search engines and online platforms will also implement the EU standards newly set by the DSA in Switzerland. Otherwise, users from Switzerland would be placed in a worse position compared to EU users, should there be no equivalent Swiss legislation