On 27 June, the European Commission organized the first-ever Digital Services Act (DSA) Event to provide stakeholders with the opportunity to engage with the European Commission and contribute their insights for the implementation of the DSA. In particular, FEDMA attended the workshop “How interface design affects user choices: dark patterns and advertising”. The panel focused on the ethical considerations surrounding the design of online interfaces, advertising, and recommender systems, stressing the importance of designing interfaces that prioritize user choice and autonomy. Alexandra Geese (DE/Greens) Member of European Parliament (MEP) used this opportunity to stress the unsustainable nature of the current online advertising model and promoted “contextual advertising” as the way forward for the advertising industry. Francesco Decarolis, Professor Bocconi University provided a first insight into a new Study on Online Advertising which will soon be published by the European Commission’s Observatory on the Online Platform Economy: he stressed the oligopolistic character of the market for online advertising and the lack of transparency for both businesses and consumers. Maryant Fernández Perez, Senior Digital Officer at BEUC, the European Consumer Organisation, voiced support to the DSA provisions banning deceptive online interfaces, but she acknowledged a lack of clarity on scope of the new rules as they would not apply to online interfaces already covered by existing consumer protection law and the GDPR.
As a reminder, the DSA entered into force on 16 November 2022. From summer 2023 Very Large Online Platforms (VLOPs) will have to comply with DSA obligations, while all providers of intermediary services will be subject to them from February 2024.