New EU DSA & DMA Regulations: How will local searches change?
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The digital landscape is rapidly evolving. With our personal and professional lives happening increasingly online, the EU has identified a greater need for regulation to protect consumers and ensure fair competition. This has led to two major new pieces of legislation: the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA).
The DSA and DMA aim to create a safer and more accountable online environment for users, while also fostering innovation and competitiveness. The regulations establish clear responsibilities for online platforms to deal with illegal content and products, disinformation, and other societal issues. There is also a focus on transparency, with reporting requirements and oversight mechanisms.
As we’ve seen recently with TikTok’s €345 million fine — there are additional obligations for very large online platforms — around algorithms, content moderation, and data access. These “gatekeeper” platforms will have dos and don’ts they must comply with to ensure fair conditions for businesses, developers and consumers who rely on them. Violations could lead to fines of up to 10% of annual global turnover.
The new frameworks mark an important milestone in regulating the digital space. As online activity continues to grow, rules that protect users’ rights and interests are essential. For businesses and platforms operating in Europe, understanding these regulations will be key. Compliance opens opportunities, while violations risk significant penalties.
This article explores what is changing under the DSA and DMA, and the impacts on local search, online advertising, content moderation and more. Read on for an in-depth look at how these regulations will shape the future of digital services in the EU and beyond.
The Digital Services Act
The Digital Services Act (DSA) establishes ground rules for digital service providers operating in the EU. Its core aims are to create a safer online space and hold platforms accountable for managing illegal and harmful content.
The DSA is organized around 5 key pillars :
- Protecting users from illegal content and goods
One key aim is protecting users from illegal and harmful content. People will gain more control over the information they encounter online. Platforms must swiftly remove problematic posts or products when flagged by users.
- Empowering users and boosting transparency
Another focus is transparency around platform practices. Companies will have to explain their algorithms and content decisions. Research bodies can access data to assess issues like misinformation.
- Assessing and mitigating risks
Very large platforms face additional obligations under the DSA. These companies must audit algorithms and have crisis response systems. Restrictions on targeted ads to minors are included as well.
- Combating cyberbullying
Combating cyberbullying is also addressed in the rules. Users can easily flag abusive content for swift removal by platforms.
- Simplifying terms of service
Simplified terms of service will help users understand what they are agreeing to. The DSA takes a multifaceted approach to create a better online space through responsibility, transparency and risk mitigation.
To comply with DSA rules, Google has enacted stricter policies around business profiles, reviews, and inappropriate content. Fake profiles can be reported through new verification methods. Harsher penalties now apply for policy violations, up to account suspension.
For suspended accounts, the appeals process is more complex. Just one chance is given to provide proof like photos and invoices. After that, paid mediation may be required.
To minimize DSA risks, brands should diversify their online presence across multiple platforms, not just Google. An up-to-date Store Locator on a company’s website can also help prove location details.
The Digital Markets Act
The Digital Markets Act (DMA) aims to ensure fair competition and a level playing field in digital markets. It sets specific rules that “gatekeepers” must follow when dealing with business users and customers.
Gatekeepers are companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon that provide core platform services relied on by thousands of businesses and millions of end users. They wield outsized power as digital intermediaries.
The DMA designates gatekeepers based on size, market power, and entrenchment criteria. These platforms will have to adhere to obligations and prohibitions under the regulation.
Some examples of DMA dos:
- Allowing interoperability with the gatekeeper’s own services
- Providing access to data generated on the platform
- Giving advertisers tools to independently verify ads
- Allowing business users to promote offers outside the platform
- Gatekeepers can no longer “self-preference” in their rankings
- Platforms aren’t allowed to prevent user links to external services
- Companies can’t prevent users from uninstalling any pre-installed software or app
- No targeted ad tracking outside of gatekeeper’s platform services without consent
To stay compliant, gatekeepers like Google will need to make their traditionally secretive work practices more transparent. As mentioned above, violations can lead to massive fines, up to 10% of global annual turnover.
For brands, reliance on a single online platform creates risks. The DMA makes the case for diversifying presence across multiple channels and providers. Developing owned assets like a Store Locator can also help hedge against gatekeeper power.
The EU’s new DSA and DMA regulations will significantly impact companies operating in the digital space. For major platforms like Google, Apple and Facebook, there are extensive compliance requirements to avoid steep penalties. Gatekeepers will need to open up walled gardens while strictly moderating illegal and harmful content.
For companies doing business online, the prudent course is diversifying presence across multiple channels and providers. Reliance on just one platform is risky in light of expanded platform responsibilities. Investing in owned assets like an updated website store locator can also help hedge against gatekeeper control.
As regulations continue to evolve, keeping up with requirements will be an ongoing task. Working with an experienced local marketing provider can help streamline compliance across Google, Facebook, Apple and other channels.
Partoo offers corporate partners a comprehensive presence management solution covering all core search and discovery platforms. Leveraging automation and optimization tools, the all-in-one Partoo solution both maximizes exposure and simplifies adherence to EU regulations as they evolve.
To learn more about navigating the DSA, DMA and the future of local marketing, contact the Partoo team today. With leading expertise and technology, Partoo keeps businesses locally visible and legally compliant in the new, regulated internet era.
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