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Supporting the Digital Services Act (DSA)

Note: The features outlined in this article will be available starting the week of February 12, 2024. 

The European Union's Digital Services Act (DSA) seeks to regulate online content, transparent advertising, and disinformation by creating a single set of rules across the EU. The expressed purpose of the DSA is to update the European Union's existing legal framework addressing illegal content on intermediaries, and in doing so, harmonize the related national laws that have emerged across the European Union.

Some, though not all, publishers may fall into one of the following categories, as defined by the European Commission:

  • Very Large Online Platforms (VLOPs)
  • Online Platforms (OPs)
  • Hosting Service (HS)

Publishers should work with their legal teams to determine how the DSA applies to them, including which category they belong to (VLOP, OP, HS, or none) and any obligations they may have under DSA. Many publishers will not be a member of any of these categories.

DSA Online Platform obligations take effect in February 2024.

In-ad transparency (optional)

For impacted publishers, we provide tools to show in-ad information, including the name of the advertiser, the ad's targeting settings, and labels on ads served in the EEA.

Turn on in-ad transparency

Complete the following steps to control in-ad transparency information:  

  1. Sign in to your AdSense account.
  2. Click Privacy & messaging.
  3. Click Settings on the European regulations message type card.
  4. Select the options you want to apply:
    • (Optional) Ask buyers to only show ads with DSA transparency information on my site in EEA: When enabled, AdSense will signal to buyers that ads must contain ad badge, advertiser, and targeting information. Ads from buyers that do not affirm that this in-ad information is present will be rejected. Enabling this control may result in significantly reduced ad revenue.
  5. Click Save.
These in-ad transparency controls are optional and you can deselect these options to opt out.

Google Demand

By default, Google demand that serves in the EEA will include an AdChoices icon and a link to Google's About This Ad page, which includes the name of the advertiser and the primary targeting parameters used. Publishers must support the AdChoices icon in order to be eligible for Google Demand traffic in the EEA and should review guidance on ensuring support for the AdChoices icon on their ads.

AdSense for Search

Ads served by AdSense for Search (AFS) will include an icon that links to Google's About This Ad page, which includes the name of the advertiser and the primary targeting parameters used.

Authorized Buyers, Open Bidding, and SDK Bidding partners

Publishers should work with their Authorized Buyers, Open Bidding, and SDK Bidding partners to understand how they plan to support DSA-related obligations, including displaying ad badging and supporting ad transparency for the ads they deliver.

The following information is based on the current draft IAB DSA Transparency specification and is subject to change.

When the "Ask buyers to only show ads with DSA transparency information on my site in EEA" control is enabled by a publisher, the following behavior is applied to requests from the EEA:

  • Bid requests will include Regs.ext.dsa object with following values:
    • Regs.ext.dsa.dsainfo=2: Required; bid responses without DSA object will not be accepted.
    • Regs.ext.dsa.pubrender=0: Publisher can't render.
    • Regs.ext.dsa.datatopub=0: Do not send transparency data.
  • Bid responses that don't include Bid.ext.dsa.adrender=1 will be blocked.

Buyer guidance for integration with IAB DSA spec

When a buyer receives the signal in bid request that DSA transparency must be displayed, they should assess whether they can appropriately display the required information.

If a buyer responds with Bid.ext.dsa.adrender=1, they should ensure they are:

  • Displaying an ad badge or indication that the creative content is an ad.
  • Providing a method for users to access the following information:

Protection of minors

Publishers with additional obligations toward minor users can utilize our existing tools for users under the age of consent.

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