In short, Digital Trust & Safety Partnership is an initiative, aimed at developing a common framework of best practices for handling harmful online behavior and content on digital platforms.
Founded at the beginning of 2021, the initiative, whose members currently include Facebook, Google. Microsoft, Pinterest, Twitter, Reddit, Discord, Vimeo, Patreon and Shopify, is primarily aiming to establish and promote the five core best practices across the digital ecosystem, including:
- identification, evaluation & adjustment of product development practices for conduct- and content-related risks;
- assessment & improvement of processes, involving conduct- and content-related risks;
- adoption of comprehensive (and easily explainable) processes for the company’s product governance;
- enforcement of implementation of product governance processes;
- public reporting (on a regular basis) on the company’s actions, taken in regard to trust & safety issues.
The peculiar thing is, the Digital Trust & Safety Partnership isn’t focusing its efforts on the development and implementation of common harmful content moderation rules, or the detailed industry-wide action framework for handling harmful user behavior on digital platforms.
Instead, one of its core goals implies the encouragement of creation and adoption of specific companies’ trust and safety policies, based on the shared best practices.
Potential Benefits vs. Challenges
Given the involvement of a vast array of influential stakeholders in the newly-formed coalition, the Digital Trust & Safety Partnership should supposedly encourage other players across the global digital ecosystem to follow their lead by improving their in-house policies and practices for handling harmful online behavior and content.
However, as the skeptics admit, the partnership may be just the tech industry’s way to somehow respond to the public accusations of inefficient actions against hate speech and other harmful user behavior on digital platforms, hence mitigating potential financial and even legal risks, in this respect.