Talking at Cross Purposes?

A computational analysis of The debate on informational duties in the digital services and the digital markets acts


  • Prof Fabiana Di Porto University of Salento
  • Tatjana Grote University of Salento
  • Gabriele Volpi
  • Riccardo Invernizzi



Digital Services Act, Digital Markets Act, Big Platforms, Com- putational Analysis, Transparency duties


Since the opaqueness of algorithms used for rankings, recommender systems, personalized advertisements, and content moderation on online platforms opens the door to discriminatory and anti-competitive behavior, increasing transparency has become a key objective of EU lawmakers.

In the latest Commission proposals, the Digital Markets Act and Digital Services Act, transparency obligations for online intermediaries, platforms and ‘gatekeepers’ figure prominently. This paper investigates whether key concepts of competition law and transparency on digital markets are used in the same way by different stakeholders. Leveraging the power of computational text analysis, we find significant differences in the employment of terms like ‘gatekeepers’, ‘simple’, and ‘precise’ in the position papers that informed the drafting of the two latest Commission proposals. This finding is not only informative for the Commission and legal scholars, it might also affect the effectiveness of transparency duties, for which it is often simply assumed that phrases like ‘precise information’ are understood the same way by those implementing said obligations. Hence, it may explain why they fail so often to reach their goal. We conclude by sketching out how different computational text analysis tools, like topic modeling, sentiment analysis and text similarity, could be combined to provide many helpful insights for both rulemakers and the legal scholarship.


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Author Biographies

Prof Fabiana Di Porto, University of Salento

Fabiana Di Porto is Professor of Law and technology at the University of Salento, Italy and Contract Professor of Innovation Law and Regulation at LUISS, Rome. She is Head of the Algorithmic Disclosure Regulation PRIN-funded Research Project 2019-22.

Tatjana Grote, University of Salento

Tatjana Grote has a BA in International Relations from the Technical University of Dresden and is currently an LLM Candidate at the London School of Economics and Political Science as well as a member of the PRIN Algorithmic Disclosure Regulation project 2019-22.

Riccardo Invernizzi

Riccardo Invernizzi has a bsc in Mathematics - with honors - from the University of Pavia, junior analyst at DAAT consulting and Member of the PRIN Algorithmic Disclosure Regulation project 2019-22

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11-02-2022 — Updated on 17-06-2022


How to Cite

Di Porto, F., Grote, T., Volpi, G., & Invernizzi, R. (2022). Talking at Cross Purposes? A computational analysis of The debate on informational duties in the digital services and the digital markets acts. Technology and Regulation, 2021, 87–106. (Original work published February 11, 2022)



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