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Impact of the Digital Services Act on e-commerce

COMMERCEImpact of the Digital Services Act on e-commerce

The European Union’s Digital Services Act (DSA) officially came into action at the end of February. The new regulations significantly impact e-stores, web platforms, and search engines. What changes does this new legislation bring for e-commerce? Here is an expert opinion from IdoSell.

The Digital Services Act begins by defining ‘hosting’ as the process of processing information submitted by a user and upon their request. According to it, hosting companies operating in the cloud are obliged to adhere to these regulations. In practice, this means they must adjust their terms of service to include all aspects identified by the DSA. One of the key elements of the new legislation is the introduction of mechanisms for reporting illegal content. Therefore, every hosting service provider should include an appropriate form to submit such reports on their website.

“The key element here is the transition of the procedure, previously regulated by Article 14 of the Electronic Services Act, to a new legal act. This procedure concerns the actions of a hosting entity upon receiving an official notification or a credible message about the unlawful nature of stored data on websites,” explains Rafał Malujda, a legal counsel at IdoSell – the most effective sales-strategic Polish shopping platform. “This transition introduces significant changes in the obligations of the hosting provider in situations when he receives justified information about potential violations of the law.”

Regulations related to hosting services also form the basis for rules regarding web platforms, which are a particular subcategory of hosting services. An Internet platform, as a hosting service, stores and provides information upon the user’s request. Malujda draws attention to issues related to the credibility of information originating, for example, from foreign online stores, and the need for the hosting provider to make a decision – whether, according to the new regulation, they can remove content from a particular online service to which they provide their service.

“One of the main aims of the ‘Digital Services Act’ is to counteract disinformation and misleading practices, including the use of so-called ‘deceptive interfaces’ (dark patterns), especially those related to product descriptions or information about goods that may influence purchasing decisions. Although some of these practices were already illegal, the new regulations are aimed at combating unethical actions more effectively,” explains Rafał Malujda from IdoSell. “Internet platform providers cannot design, organise or operate their web interfaces in a way that misleads service recipients or manipulates them or in a significant way disrupts or limits the ability of their service recipients to make free and informed decisions.”

Under the DSA, platform operators will now have to undertake ‘moderation actions’ when they receive justified information about illegal content. In practice, this means suspending publication and removing content that violates the regulation.

“The DSA directly indicates examples of such illegal content, which can be the sharing of images depicting indecent treatment of children for sexual purposes, unlawful sharing of private images without consent, cyberstalking, selling products that do not meet requirements or are counterfeit, selling goods or providing services in violation of consumer protection law, unauthorised use of copyrighted material, illegal offering of accommodation services, or illegal sale of live animals,” enumerates Rafał Malujda.

The lawyer points out that the Digital Services Act should mainly be noted by those sellers who sell in a cross-border model.

“It’s important to pay attention to the regulations applicable in the delivery country to avoid the risk of breaking the law. The new regulations aim to counteract harmful practices, and their effects will be felt in the coming months,” emphasizes the IdoSell legal counsel.

Both the DSA and planned regulations, such as the ‘AI Act’, are directing the e-commerce industry towards new challenges, imposing the need to adapt to more developed standards and regulations. Implementing these changes requires e-commerce markets to adjust their practices to increasingly stricter regulatory norms.

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