Which online platforms and search engines are considered very large by the European Commission?

19 May 2023

In November 2022 we reported on the adoption of the Digital Services Act , which aims to make digital platform operators accountable and thus increase the level of protection of users' online rights. In April 2023, the European Commission published a list of 17 online platforms and two search engines that are considered very large and will be subject to strict rules on how they operate online. This is the EU's way of ensuring a safer online environment. The list of platforms is published below.

Very large online platforms are those with more than 45 million monthly active users (i.e. at least 10% of the population in the European Union). Because of their strong influence, the European Commission's decision imposes additional obligations on them to manage systemic risks.

List of very large online platforms:
• Alibaba AliExpress
• Amazon Store
• Apple AppStore
• Booking.com
• Facebook
• Google Play
• Google Maps
• Google Shopping
• Instagram
• LinkedIn
• Pinterest
• Snapchat
• TikTok
• Twitter
• Wikipedia
• YouTube
• Zalando

List of very large search engines:
• Bing
• Google Search

The Regulation imposes an obligation to provide a first annual systemic risk assessment and effective content management tools. Operators of very large platforms and search engines have a 4-month deadline to comply with the obligation.

The measures pursue the objectives of protecting users (in particular minors), increasing transparency and reducing the dissemination of misleading information. Other obligations include clearly identifying all advertisements and publishing information on who the advertisers are; prohibiting the publication of advertisements based on sensitive user data (ethnicity, sexual orientation, political beliefs, etc.); and diligently handling and removing clearly illegal content. The Regulation also introduces a simple procedure for reporting and effectively removing illegal posts.

The Regulation will be applicable from 17 February 2024, by which time EU Member States must have implemented it in their domestic legal order.