Everything You Need to Know About the EU’s New Online Complaints System - taskus

Created time
Feb 28, 2024 01:16 PM
The landmark Digital Services Act (DSA) of the European Union is introducing new regulations for digital platforms to create a safer and more accountable online environment for users. A key change coming to the EU market is the introduction of robust internal complaint-handling systems and out-of-court settlement process, providing a standardized avenue for online service providers and users to resolve disputes and complaints. This evolution in digital governance allows businesses to build greater trust by increasing digital safety and accountability.
We explore the upcoming changes in the DSA related to resolving user grievances and alternative dispute methods and offer insights and guidance to help businesses navigate and comply with these new regulatory landscapes.

Establishing Clarity with a Statement of Reason

Expanding on existing online service obligations, DSA’s Article 17, “Statement of Reasons”, requires digital platforms to explain in detail why they took user-impacting actions such as content restriction and account termination. 1 A statement should include:
What action the platform take and why
How the platform used automated tools
Which rule did the user’s post break and how
How the users can contest the decision
Online service providers must submit all Statements of Reasons to the EU transparency database.

Building a Fair DSA Internal Complaint-Handling System

Article 20 of the DSA primarily focuses on empowering recipients of online platform services by providing them access to an effective internal complaint handling system. This internal complaint-handling system serves as the first line of defense for users seeking to contest actions related to content takedowns or account restrictions.2 Key provisions of Article 20 include:
notion image
Accessible Complaint System: Online platforms must offer a simple way for users to file complaints online and free of charge for at least six months following the decision. This setup should provide clear details on the process and the steps each user can take to fix or challenge the decision.
notion image
Timely Resolution: Platforms should quickly acknowledge received complaints and announce when a solution can be reached. If the complaint reveals that a mistake was made, the platform should correct the decision right away.
notion image
Clear Communication: Businesses should promptly inform members of what they have decided about a complaint, their options for settling disputes outside of a court of law, and their right to seek help from the property authorities or legal bodies.
notion image
Human Supervision: Skilled, independent staff must handle the complaints, not just automated systems. This steam should work ethically, respect user rights, and have the authority to resolve complaints effectively.

The Importance of User-Friendly Redress Mechanisms

By mandating a fair and accessible internal complaint system, the DSA aims to maintain the rights of users and the accountability of digital platforms. Article 20 opens a door for users who have had their content removed or their accounts impacted to request a review of the platform’s decision, acknowledging the potential imperfections of existing content moderation processes. However, for this system to be effective, platforms must be transparent about the procedure, articulate the grounds for their decision, and enumerate the remedies available to the user.

Operational Challenges in Redressing User Appeals

Handling appeals presents unique challenges for moderation teams. Unlike initial content moderation, appeals require a second-level review that demands skills beyond mere rule application. Critical thinking, keen observation, and an understanding of cultural nuances become crucial. At TaskUs, we have years of experience in handling appeals across diverse content types. Our seasoned team navigates the complexities of user-reported complaints, reviewing appeals of political ads, marketplace listings, demonetized videos and unoriginal content, striving to strike the right balance between user rights and platform accountability.

DSA Out-of-Court Settlement

The DSA escalates its user-centric approach with Article 21, “Out-of-court dispute settlement,” mandating an independent and impartial avenue where a user and a digital platform can settle unresolved disagreements by the internal complaint-handling system without resorting to traditional legal avenues.3 The aim is to provide users with a fast, low-cost, and effective alternative to judicial remedies, while ensuring that their rights and interests are respected. Out-of-court dispute settlement is also expected to reduce the burden on courts and authorities, and to foster trust and cooperation between users and platform providers. This article requires essential components such as:
notion image
Out-of-Court Settlement Bodies: These are bodies certified by a national Digital Services Coordinator—an independent regulatory authority designated by an EU Member State—as neutral, knowledgeable, and efficient entities capable of handling disputes in compliance with DSA regulations.
notion image
User Selections: An online interface must be available where aggrieved users can select their preferred DSC-certified extrajudicial settlement body.
notion image
Good Faith Engagement: The customer and the digital platform must participate honestly and constructively with the selected settlement body to find a resolution.
notion image
Cost Implications: The platform should burden the cost if the user wins the dispute; otherwise, the complainant should pay for the settlement-related expenses.

TaskUs: Your Compliance Partner

TaskUs is committed to staying at the forefront of these regulatory changes, including the intricacies of the new complaints procedure. Our comprehensive services will help you navigate the complexities of the new DSA requirements and build robust strategies for outsourcing regulatory compliance.
Through our end-to-end solutions and exceptional human + tech capabilities, you can count on Us to help you:
  • Assess and understand your regulatory obligations at an operational level
  • Identify and assess the risks stemming from the design or functioning of your service and deliver Risk Assessments if/when required
  • Review your existing content moderation processes, plan possible outsourcing solutions, spot the gaps with your regulatory obligations, assess the criticality and effort level for each gap, and lay out a mitigation plan that takes these factors and your available bandwidth into account
  • Scale and provide workforce across different countries and time zones
  • Provide an experienced team to test the implementation of pilot projects
By partnering with Us, you leverage our expertise to transform complex legal challenges into strategic advantages, reinforcing your commitment to excellence in digital services while maintaining trust with your users. Embrace the future of online service with Us, where compliance and innovation are in harmony.
Navigate the DSA and build a resilient, compliant online presence.