Articles

An Organization Monitoring Online Trust

Casey Mazzotti

April 11, 2021

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The age of the internet took us by storm in the '90s and has grown exponentially over the last two decades. It's no surprise, then, that it's been hard to monitor and control content placed across myriad platforms and forums.

Online trust and safety seemed to be initially more focused on fraud prevention, and it still is - but a new component has been added to the mix: misinformation.

Many of us can agree that platforms need accountability and policy to enforce appropriate behavior (and moderate inappropriate behavior), but we don't always know how to make it happen.

It's a gargantuan task to monitor all posts for factual accuracy, and misinformation is bound to slip through the cracks even with policies in place to monitor content. So, how can we monitor content online?

A new group is on the rise - the Trust and Safety Professional Association, or TSPA. A non-profit launched in 2020, the TSPA is on a mission to help us all understand how to appropriately moderate content.

The association is made up of professionals in the trust and safety field - their team comes from both public and private sectors: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, the Department of Homeland Security, Microsoft, and Google, to name quite a few.

This association provides continuing education for professionals in the content space and includes a forum for professionals to exchange best practices for enforcing policies to monitor behavior online. Check out their resource library to gain insights on creating and enforcing policies, public policy, transparency and accountability, and more.

A very interesting initiative has also launched from the TSPA - the Trust & Safety Foundation Project. It provides case studies that demonstrate the difficulties modern-day companies face in enforcing online trust and safety, like why YouTube pulled NASA's footage of the Mars rover landing. You can also check out their podcast that interviews professionals in the trust and safety field. As they are still in their early stages, this podcast has only one episode at the moment, but stay tuned for more.

The TSPA is working hard to advise us on the issue of content moderation online, and it seems like they are making significant strides in informing us on how to go about it. They're working to provide standardized policies and guidelines, and their continuing education and case studies shine a light on why and how content moderation is so difficult. Because it's relatively new, we'll have to wait and see how companies implement these practices to get a better idea of how it's all working out - regardless, we've got a non-profit with qualified individuals working together to solve a problem, and that's a great start.

Bibliography:

1) Masnick, Mike. "Trust & Safety Professional Association Launches: This Is Important". Techdirt., 2020, https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20200617/10233144735/trust-safety-professional-association-launches-this-is-important.shtml.

2) "Trust & Safety Foundation Project". Trust & Safety Foundation Project, https://www.tsf.foundation/..

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