Recital 13

Considering the particular characteristics of the services concerned and the corresponding need to make the providers thereof subject to certain specific obligations, it is necessary to distinguish, within the broader category of providers of hosting services as defined in this Regulation, the subcategory of online platforms. Online platforms, such as social networks or online platforms allowing consumers to conclude distance contracts with traders, should be defined as providers of hosting services that not only store information provided by the recipients of the service at their request, but that also disseminate that information to the public at the request of the recipients of the service. However, in order to avoid imposing overly broad obligations, providers of hosting services should not be considered as online platforms where the dissemination to the public is merely a minor and purely ancillary feature that is intrinsically linked to another service, or a minor functionality of the principal service, and that feature or functionality cannot, for objective technical reasons, be used without that other or principal service, and the integration of that feature or functionality is not a means to circumvent the applicability of the rules of this Regulation applicable to online platforms. For example, the comments section in an online newspaper could constitute such a feature, where it is clear that it is ancillary to the main service represented by the publication of news under the editorial responsibility of the publisher. In contrast, the storage of comments in a social network should be considered an online platform service where it is clear that it is not a minor feature of the service offered, even if it is ancillary to publishing the posts of recipients of the service. For the purposes of this Regulation, cloud computing or web-hosting services should not be considered to be an online platform where dissemination of specific information to the public constitutes a minor and ancillary feature or a minor functionality of such services.
Moreover, cloud computing services and web-hosting services, when serving as infrastructure, such as the underlying infrastructural storage and computing services of an internet-based application, website or online platform, should not in themselves be considered as disseminating to the public information stored or processed at the request of a recipient of the application, website or online platform which they host.