As of 17 February 2024, since the Digital Services Act (DSA) entered into force last November, providers of online platforms and providers of online search engines will be required to publish the average monthly active recipients of the service in the European Union.
As a reminder, in an ongoing effort to regulate digital services that act as intermediaries between consumers and providers, a new set of rules and obligations have been put in place by the European Union through the implementation of the European regulations called: Digital Services Act and Digital Market Act.
The Digital Services Act (DSA) is an EU regulation that introduces a new set of rules that applies to all digital services that connect consumers to goods, services or content. The DSA sets out new obligations for online platforms in order to minimise harms and counter risks online, establishing a new transparency and accountability framework. "The obligations of different online players match their role, size and impact in the online ecosystem.” This means, for instance, that a provider of a cloud storage service (i.e. a hosting service in the DSA) is considered to pose less risks than a social media platform (i.e. an online platform in the DSA). This is because a social media platform has a wider reach in the public and poses them with more threats online than the cloud storage service. Accordingly, a social media platform provider will have to comply with more obligations under the DSA than a provider of cloud storage services.
What is an "online platform”and an "online search engine”?
An online platform connects people or allows content to be shared publicly and can be present in a variety of sectors. Examples of online platforms are social media, app stores and online marketplaces.
An online search engine allows users to input their queries, by different means (for example through text or voice or any other input) to search for websites or content online.
Who has to publish the count of their active recipients?
Only providers of online platforms and providers of online search engines, with the exception of micro and small enterprises (fewer than 50 employees and an annual turnover or balance sheet below €10 million), are required to publish the count of their active recipients.
For the avoidance of doubt, micro and small enterprises still have obligations under the DSA, although proportionate to their ability and size while ensuring they remain accountable. The exemption mentioned above only refers to this particular requirement, namely the count of active recipients.
How to calculate average monthly active recipients of the service in the European Union?
The DSA is straightforward with respect to the count of the average active recipients. In particular, this shall be calculated as an average over the period of the past six months.
Where to publish?
The number of active recipients shall be published in a publicly available section of the online interface and should be updated on a regular basis, at least once every six months after the 17 February 2023.
The remaining obligations under the Digital Services Act will apply from 17 February 2024. However, certain players, including very large platforms with more than 45 million users in the EU (commonly known as very large online platforms - VLOPs) will have to comply earlier.
More information will follow on all the obligations of the DSA and its implementation in Luxembourg. For specific questions, please contact the Ministry of the Economy (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Press release by the Ministry of the Economy