The Digital Services Act – Resources for IAB Ireland members

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The Digital Services Act regulates the provision of digital services in the EU and applies to online intermediaries and platforms. 

The primary goal of the DSA is to enhance the trust of both consumers and business users when engaging with online platforms – including the products, services, and advertisements users encounter on these platforms. 

What does the DSA mean for the digital ad industry? 

Article 26 of the DSA has most relevance for the digital advertising industry. This Article specifies thetransparency requirements required for Advertising; these obligations apply to Online Platforms, including ‘Very Large Online Platforms’ (VLOPs), as defined by the Digital Services Act. 

Online platforms are defined as user-generated content platforms and online marketplaces which bring together sellers and consumers. 

‘Very large’ means having more than 45 million monthly active users in the EU. VLOP status is designated by the European Commission

From February 17th, 2024, under Article 26 of the DSA, Online Platforms are required to provide the following information:

  • That the ad is indeed an ad;
  • The identity of the advertiser;
  • The identity of the party that financed the ad, if it is different from the advertiser;
  • Information about the “main parameters” used to determine the recipient of the ad;
  • Where applicable, information about any means users may have at their disposal to change those main parameters.

Additionally, online platforms need to provide users who publish content (e.g. influencers) with the functionality to declare whether their content is or contains commercial communications.  

What is the IAB doing to help the industry comply?

Since the information required about ads is often held by intermediaries, IAB Europe has been working on a technical solution to help online platforms adhere to transparency obligations under the DSA, which is already in force for VLOPs and comes into effect for other entities on February 17th, 2024. This approach aims to make sure that information is available in a standardised manner and is passed on through the chain so platforms can implement the DSA transparency requirements.

On January 22nd, 2024, IAB Europe published its Implementation Guidelines for the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA) to help online platforms meet the legal requirements for user-facing information disclosures. 

To facilitate this process, IAB Tech Lab and the IAB Europe Taskforce have standardised data collection, compilation, and transport with new technical specifications and implementation guidelines. The technical specification, hosted by IAB Tech Lab here, provides data formats and a mechanism for the transport of the data that are required to enable the advertising industry to implement relevant DSA transparency information. This solution should be adaptable across most relevant use cases, including programmatic and non-programmatic media buys, and for channels including desktop web, mobile (web/app), video, and CTV. 

Read more about the guidance and how it has been developed here