Digital Services Act takes effect: impact on Belgian companies limited

The European Union's Digital Services Act (DSA), which targets major platforms such as Facebook, TikTok, X, Google and Amazon, comes into force on Saturday. The impact on Belgian companies will be limited, writes financial daily L'Echo.

The aim of the new law, approved by European parliament in 2022, is to bring the major online platforms into line. In line with the principle of equality, the text is broad and will also affect smaller players, including some Belgian companies with an online presence.

As of this Saturday, all online platforms will have to set up systems to combat the dissemination of illegal content, such as incitement to hatred, fraudulent advertising, attacks on freedom of expression or invasions of privacy. The law also targets misleading advertising. In short, the DSA ensures that "anything that is illegal offline is also illegal online", states the European Commission.

To comply with the text, companies must put in place mechanisms to protect users and set up a procedure for reporting illegal activities. Users must be able to contact a "legal representative" responsible for dealing with complaints. Companies must also set up content moderation systems.

No major Belgian players are on the list of 22 platforms specifically targeted by the DSA. The list includes major global platforms such as Facebook, Google, Instagram, TikTok, X, YouTube, Snapchat, Amazon, Zalando, Alibaba and, as well as the pornography website Pornhub.

Limited impact

However, not only the listed companies, but all companies with online activities aimed at the general public must comply with the rules imposed by the DSA. This means that Belgian internet service providers such as Proximus and Telenet are subject to the text. Online platforms offering tourist accommodation, e-tailers and even players in the collaborative economy also have to comply.

"Many Belgian companies tend to focus on B2B or do not have a strong online presence, which puts them outside the scope of the DSA. The impact on Belgian companies is therefore quite limited," L'Echo quotes Louis de Diesbach, consultant at BCG. "On the other hand, a Belgian company that sells products online should find the DSA interesting because it will be able to report counterfeiting or fraudulent practices online that are damaging to it."

"A Belgian company that sells products online should find the DSA interesting because it will be able to report counterfeiting or fraudulent practices online."

Companies that do not comply with the rules laid down in the DSA risk being fined up to 6 per cent of their annual turnover. Penalties of up to 5 per cent of the company's daily turnover can also be imposed. Repeat offenders could even be forced to cease trading in Europe.



Related news:

Website preview
Musk considers shutting down X in Europe
Elon Musk is increasingly frustrated with Europe's new Digital Services Act (DSA), which requires social networks to safeguard against disinformation and hate speech. According to US media, Musk is considering pulling X, formerly Twitter, out of the European Union.
Website preview
Twitter must be ready to comply with new rules by August, EU warns
European Commissioner Thierry Breton has warned Elon Musk that Twitter must have enough resources to moderate dangerous content by 25 August. If not, Musk risks violating the Digital Services Act (DSA). Under European legislation, internet platforms are legally obliged to combat disinformation.

Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.


Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels