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Digital Services Act: new rules for the internet

Insults, threats and sexual harassment: every second young woman is the target of digital violence on social media. Facebook, X (Twitter) and online platforms alike have so far done too little to combat hate on their platforms.

With the new EU law, the Digital Services Act (DSA), the EU has ushered in a new era for the basic digital rights of users. Through a petition demanding better protection of women on social media and various actions run together with an alliance of international organisations, HateAid has critically contributed to the legislative process over the past year and given victims of digital violence a voice on the EU political stage.

This is what the new EU law brings:

• All platforms must enable the reporting of content

• Users can complain and request a second review of their reported content

• Users can turn to an out-of-court dispute settlement

• Very large online platforms like YouTube, X (Twitter), or Facebook must disclose algorithms and other internal processes

• Researchers and civil society organisations can gain access to platform data for independent investigations

From Berlin to Brussels: we are advocating for human rights on the internet

Whether through petitions, actions in Brussels, or direct conversations with EU politicians: during the negotiations over the law, we have provided a voice on the political stage of the EU for those affected by digital violence. And we won’t stop there.

Because now it’s crucial for the new rules to be swiftly and consistently enforced. HateAid will closely monitor whether online platforms will adhere to the new law.

Arbeit für den Digital Services Act: Josephine übergibt die HateAid-Petition an MEP Christel Schaldemose.

Handover of the HateAid petition with over 30,000 signatures in Brussels: Josephine Ballon, CEO at HateAid & Christel Schaldemose, MEP.

Anna Lena von Hodenberg - Photo Andrea Heinsohn

Anna-Lena von Hodenberg, Photo: Andrea Heinsohn Photography

“Social networks have provided a platform for the mass spread of hate and agitation. With the Digital Services Act, we have for the first time an EU-wide law that attempts to stand up to Facebook, X (Twitter) and other platforms. We will be watching very closely to see how the social networks implement the new obligations. For us, it’s clear: if the measures don’t bear fruit, we will demand that the EU tighten up on effective protection against digital violence.” 

Anna-Lena von Hodenberg, CEO at HateAid 

We will continue to advocate for you!

To achieve this, we have set ourselves ambitious goals: with our User Guide, we aim to make the Digital Services Act easily understandable, so that users of social media platforms know how to raise complaints and who can assist them. We will scrutinize the annual reports on the societal risks of these platforms, with a particular focus on risks faced by women and the LGBTIQA+ community. We will engage in dialogue with the new regulatory authorities in the EU and demand the consistent implementation of the DSA.

Boundless hate: dramatic situation across Europe

How many people in Europe are affected by digital violence? The results of our EU-wide survey from November 2021 are alarming:
% of Europeans aged 18 - 35 have already experienced digital violence.
% of women fear that intimate images of them could be published online without their consent.
% of women express their opinions online less often for fear of hate.

Alfred Landecker Foundation

Our commitment to a better Digital Services Act (DSA) is realised through the financial support of the Alfred Landecker Foundation. 

Eine Flagge mit dem Logo von HateAid

This is how we advocated for a better DSA 

The kick-off
The European Commission presents the first draft of the Digital Services Act. The legislative process starts. The European Parliament and the member states can introduce amendments.
15 December
We make a difference
We draft proposals for the legislative text, get in touch with policymakers, promote our demands and bring in the perspective of victims of digital violence. 
22 June
Launch of our first international petition
All over Europe we see that people are sick of online violence. We launch an international petition to make sure that these voices are heard by the EU. 


12 October
We are protesting
We are serious: we show this with a protest action directly in front of the European Parliament. On this day, the EU policymakers will not be able to ignore us.  
08 November
We take your 30,000 votes to the EU
We hand over the petition with your 30,000 votes to the lead negotiator of the European Parliament, MEP Christel Schaldemose. 
31 January
Don't look away, Mr Digital Minister Wissing!
We protest! This time in front of the Federal Chancellery in Berlin. We demand from Digital Minister Wissing and State Secretary Kluckert: stand up for the rights of victims of digital violence in the EU. 
08 March
We give everything!
We gather in front of the building in Brussels where EU policymakers will meet for the final negotiations on the DSA. Our demand: stop digital violence! 


22 April
We have a new EU internet law!
A huge success: more transparency and better complaint mechanisms for victims of digital violence. Our commitment in Brussels has paid off! 


05 July
Here we go!
The Digital Services Act must be implemented by major online platforms. We will now closely monitor X (Twitter), YouTube, and similar platforms. Starting from February 2023, the DSA will apply to all platforms, regardless of their size.
25 August