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Should you invest in Trust and Safety?
Many Trust and Safety layoffs in recent months have resulted in some difficult questions that we want to raise and explore.
How critical is Trust and Safety to an organisation?
A digital world without content moderation is a digital world without law enforcement. The absence of regulators allows illegal behaviour to run rampant and enables bad actors to anonymously roam the digital landscape without consequence. This puts the general public constantly at risk. We must rethink the way we view our online environment. While we believe digital experiences take place in the safety of our homes, they can lead to ramifications and long-term harm.
The role of Trust and Safety teams is to act as the Digital First Responders to online harm; this task is not only mandatory but critical to ensure online safety. With a 9% increase in global internet users during and since the pandemic, why are we seeing reduced investment in Trust and Safety? The shift to online is a permanent part of our daily norm: we work, live and practically breathe online. Online experiences are intertwined and interchangeable with their offline impact on our physical and mental health.
Changes to ways of working, widespread distribution of corporate technology and the rise of frictionless image-sharing platforms, encrypted networks and chat forums have combined to increase the risk of illegal activity. Additionally, the internal threat of employees accessing child sexual abuse material (CSAM) is real and growing with 70% of senior IT professionals believing that increased home working has intensified the spread of CSAM. Exposure to CSAM has serious, real-world consequences for your business and wider society.
Key roles required to create positive communities online?
Part of understanding the harm of the recent layoffs in the Trust and Safety space is understanding the importance of Trust and Safety as a core critical function within an organisation. An industry shift to safety first, including key elements at the beginning or early stages of service/product development is an approach that allows organisations to remain agile and adapt to new situations. We have seen this with market-driven organisations resulting in product-led development and now is the time for Safety by Design.
But safe online experiences cannot just be created by anyone. It's important to utilise available content moderation tooling to support your Trust and Safety teams, but AI cannot do this alone. Exposure to extreme content like CSAM comes with high associated risks that require more. Providing safe and protected forums for public opinion means investing in experienced, skilled and trained Trust and Safety teams who have the power and expertise to enforce policies and protect platform users.
One of the major obstacles we hear from Trust and Safety leads is a lack of internal buy-in and the constant need to convince higher-ups. Harmful content is part of a greater societal issue related to a need for awareness and understanding, both of which are part of promoting the positive growth of your online platform.
How user safety promotes the growth of your platform
If user activity is a key metric in determining the value of an online platform, then investment in user safety is an investment in user experiences and bottom-line growth. While removing essential safeguards is a short-term cost-saving exercise, it is unsustainable and allows bad actor toxicity to negatively impact the experience of the community and platform reputation.
Whether directly or indirectly, user safety impacts the success of a business, as well as the users and their experiences on the platform. Many platforms are now adopting a product-led approach, which means user acquisition and retention directly relates to the platform's growth and development. So why not place safety as a core offering at the centre of the consumer's journey? Specifically for online platforms, the product needs to be able to speak for itself through its features, benefits and performance. If your ability to expand and grow your platform directly correlates with your user's experience why not invest in its success?
Join us at this year’s INHOPE Summit on Partnering Product with Policy. On September 19 and 20, we will examine the value of strengthening the collaborative efforts between product and policy to establish the status of your online safety and how foundational changes can minimise the need for constant changes.
Learn more by clicking here.
Join us as this year’s INHOPE Summit on Partnering Product with Policy. On September 19 and 20, we will examine the value of strengthening the collaborative efforts between product and policy teams. Learn more by clicking here.'