✨ New ✨ The Digital Services Act: A fireside chat covering all angles Watch it here → ×

Building Trust and Safety: Why It Matters and How to Get It Right


    Trust and safety have become paramount as we all increasingly rely on online platforms for almost all activities. So, to say that ensuring a secure and reliable experience is essential is, well, maybe an understatement of the year. Let’s explore the importance of trust and safety, its impact on user experience, brand reputation, and customer retention, and outline strategies for building and maintaining a trustworthy online presence.

    Man using laptop in front of brown chair photo
    Photo by Alex Kotliarskyi on Unsplash

    Trust and safety: Key concepts

    Trust is not just a buzzword—it’s a crucial pillar of user engagement. A platform demonstrating its commitment to user safety increases user activity and loyalty. Businesses can foster a more active and engaged community by implementing clear safety policies and showing users that their data is protected.

    Features like end-to-end encryption and data anonymization protect privacy and build trust.

    For example, WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption has been pivotal in establishing its reputation as a secure messaging platform.

    The impact of trust and safety

    Trust and Safety (T&S) is like your very own superhero squad, dedicated to shielding online platforms and their users from all kinds of shenanigans. Think fraud, harassment, offensive content, and spam—these are just a few villains our mighty T&S teams strive to defeat in their mission to keep online communities safe and sound. They’re the ultimate protectors, working tirelessly to ensure you can navigate the digital world with peace of mind.

    User experience

    Trust and safety directly affect the user experience. A website or app that prioritizes security and privacy will retain users, who will feel more comfortable sharing their personal information and engaging with the platform. Conversely, a lack of trust and safety can result in users staying on the platform and seeking alternatives that provide a more secure experience.

    Brand reputation

    A trustworthy and safe online presence is crucial for building and maintaining a positive brand reputation. Websites and apps with robust trust and safety measures are more likely to be recommended by users and attract new customers. In contrast, platforms with poor trust and safety measures can suffer from negative reviews, public backlash, and even legal repercussions.

    Customer retention

    Trust and safety are essential for customer retention. Users are more likely to continue using a platform if they believe their personal information is secure and their experience is safe. By investing in trust and safety measures, businesses can increase customer loyalty and reduce churn.

    Regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) mandate that websites and apps prioritize user privacy and data security. Non-compliance can result in significant fines, legal action, and reputational damage.

    Building trust and safety

    Transparency is key to building trust and safety. Websites and apps should provide clear policies on data usage, privacy, and security, allowing users to understand how their information is handled. Open communication about updates, incidents, and improvements can further enhance trust and demonstrate a commitment to user safety.

    Leveraging user feedback

    Effective safety policies are not set in stone; they evolve through a continuous cycle of feedback. By integrating user feedback mechanisms directly into your platform, you can swiftly address concerns and adapt policies to meet user needs and expectations. This ongoing dialogue not only bolsters trust but also helps refine your safety measures.

    Technology at the forefront

    Embracing technology can be a game-changer for your trust and safety protocols. For instance, leveraging AI for real-time content moderation enables efficient management of large volumes of user-generated content while upholding high safety standards. Similarly, blockchain technology can be harnessed to enhance transaction transparency, thereby fortifying security and boosting user trust.


    Implementing robust security measures is crucial for ensuring user safety. This includes secure data storage, encryption, and authentication methods such as two-factor authentication (2FA) or biometrics. Regular security audits and updates can help identify and address potential vulnerabilities, maintaining a secure user environment.


    Respecting user privacy is essential for building trust. Websites and apps should clearly outline their data collection practices and sharing policies, giving users control over their personal information. Implementing consent mechanisms and allowing users to adjust their privacy settings can enhance trust and safety.

    A step-by-step safety framework

    To implement a robust trust and safety framework, define clear guidelines aligning with your business’s values and user expectations. Regularly update these policies based on user feedback and technological advancements. Additionally, invest in training your team to handle safety-related issues adeptly and ensure they are equipped with the latest tools and knowledge to manage new challenges effectively.

    Content moderation

    Content moderation plays a significant role in maintaining trust and safety on websites and apps. Effective moderation ensures that harmful content, such as hate speech or misinformation, is removed or flagged, creating a safer user environment. Combining human moderators and AI tools can help manage content effectively and efficiently.

    Implementing a digital trust and safety strategy

    Developing a digital trust and safety strategy begins with understanding the unique needs and risks associated with your industry and user base. Identify potential vulnerabilities, assess the impact of security breaches or privacy violations, and determine the most effective measures to mitigate these risks.

    Content moderation solution

    A content moderation solution is crucial to a digital trust and safety strategy. Implementing effective content moderation ensures that harmful content such as hate speech, misinformation, and explicit material is removed or flagged, creating a safer environment for users. To create a comprehensive content moderation solution, consider the following steps:

    1. Define content policies: Establish clear guidelines outlining acceptable and prohibited content on your platform.
    2. Choose moderation methods: To manage content effectively, employ a combination of automated tools, such as AI-based content filtering and human moderation.
    3. Implement a reporting system: Enable users to report inappropriate content or behavior and promptly address reports.
    4. Monitor and adjust: Continuously evaluate the effectiveness of your content moderation solution, making adjustments as needed to maintain a safe environment.

    Keeping up with industry trends and emerging threats is crucial for maintaining a robust digital trust and safety strategy. Here are a few tips for staying informed:

    1. Follow industry news and resources: Subscribe to newsletters, blogs, and publications that cover digital security, privacy, and trust-related topics.
    2. Attend conferences and webinars: Participate in events focusing on digital trust and safety, where you can learn from experts and network with industry peers.
    3. Engage with online communities: Join relevant forums, social media groups, or professional networks to discuss digital trust and safety challenges, solutions, and best practices.
    4. Collaborate with industry partners: Work with industry partners and associations to share knowledge, resources, and insights on trust and safety issues.

    By implementing a comprehensive digital trust and safety strategy that includes content moderation solutions and staying up to date with industry trends, businesses can create a secure and reliable online environment that promotes user satisfaction, brand reputation, and customer retention. Prioritizing trust and safety is a moral obligation and a smart business strategy that leads to long-term success.

    Maintaining trust and safety

    Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics related to trust and safety can help identify areas for improvement and measure the effectiveness of implemented measures. Relevant metrics include customer satisfaction scores, security incident rates, and user engagement levels.

    Regularly updating security measures, privacy policies, and user features is essential for maintaining trust and safety. Staying informed about emerging threats and best practices can help ensure that websites and apps remain secure and up-to-date.

    User Feedback

    User feedback can provide valuable insights into potential trust and safety concerns. Encouraging users to report issues, ask questions, or provide suggestions can help identify and address potential problems, further enhancing trust and safety.

    Implementing efficient reporting systems allows users to report suspicious or harmful activities, content, or incidents. Promptly addressing these reports helps maintain a safe environment and demonstrates a commitment to user safety.

    Trust and safety best practices and common challenges

    Smooth operations rely on establishing robust processes and frameworks to ensure trust and safety. By adopting the proper practices, businesses can safeguard their operations, protect their customers, and maintain a secure online environment.

    However, navigating the intricacies of trust and safety is challenging.

    Top 5 Best Practices

    1. Clear Policies and Guidelines: Define comprehensive policies that outline acceptable behavior, content standards, and safety protocols for users. This helps set clear expectations and establishes a foundation of trust. 
    2. User Authentication: Implement stringent user authentication processes, such as two-factor authentication or identity verification, to minimize the risk of fraudulent activities and unauthorized access. 
    3. Monitoring and Moderation: Continuously monitor user-generated content, transactions, and interactions to identify and promptly address potential trust and safety issues. Consider outsourcing your content moderation to focus on your core business. Employ automated systems and human moderation to ensure a proactive approach. 
    4. Proactive Risk Assessment: Conduct regular risk assessments to identify potential vulnerabilities and emerging threats. This enables businesses to implement preemptive measures and stay ahead of evolving security challenges.
    5. User Education and Communication: Educate users about the importance of trust and safety, provide guidelines on secure practices, and encourage them to report suspicious activities. Maintain open channels of communication to address concerns and provide prompt assistance. 

    Top 5 Common Challenges

    1. Fraudulent Activities: Businesses frequently face challenges related to identity theft, payment fraud, and unauthorized access. Addressing these issues requires robust security measures and constant vigilance.
    2. Content Moderation: Managing user-generated content can be complex, as businesses must balance freedom of expression and maintaining a safe environment. Employing advanced moderation techniques and technologies can help mitigate risks.
    3. Privacy Protection: Safeguarding user data and ensuring compliance with privacy regulations pose significant challenges. Businesses must adopt strong data protection practices and stay updated on evolving regulations. 
    4. Emerging Threats: As technology evolves, new threats and vulnerabilities emerge. Staying informed about the latest security trends and investing in robust security measures is crucial to combat these challenges effectively. 
    5. User Trust and Reputation: Building and maintaining user trust can be challenging, especially in the face of incidents like data breaches or trust violations. Transparent communication, swift resolution of issues, and a solid commitment to trust and safety are essential in rebuilding user confidence. 

    Examples of trust and safety in different industries

    Certain industries, such as finance, healthcare, and e-commerce, have specific trust and safety requirements due to the sensitive nature of the data they handle. Adhering to industry-specific policies and regulations is essential for maintaining trust and safety in these verticals.


    Trust is the digital gold in online marketplaces, where apps crave your details, from names and addresses to credit card numbers. These platforms must shield users from nasty data breaches and sneaky folks who could misuse info or cause real-life harm during meet-ups. Safety first!

    eBay trust and safety

    eBay logo

    eBay has implemented an effective trust and safety policy to create a secure environment for buyers and sellers. Let’s look at some key features of eBay’s policy:

    For starters, eBay requires users to provide valid information during registration, including email addresses, phone numbers, and physical addresses. This helps establish user identity and deter fraudulent activities. eBay also utilizes its secure payment platform, PayPal, to process transactions, ensuring that sensitive financial data is encrypted and protected.

    Buyer and seller protection programs help build trust and confidence in the marketplace. These programs include a money-back guarantee for buyers and seller protection for sellers.

    Proactive content moderation with advanced algorithms and a dedicated team of moderators. They identify and remove prohibited items, counterfeit goods, and fraudulent listings, ensuring a safe browsing experience for users.

    Let’s not forget eBay’s feedback system that enables buyers and sellers to rate their experiences with each other, fostering trust and accountability. The platform also offers a dispute resolution process to address any issues between buyers and sellers.


    In the world of video and mobile gaming applications, the barrier to entry is often relatively low. This accessibility attracts millions of users, many of whom remain unverified and enjoy the cloak of anonymity. Implementing robust community guidelines and reliable auto-moderation tools becomes paramount to combat potential issues arising from this scenario. These measures are crucial in mitigating the spread of harmful content and fostering a safe environment where players can wholeheartedly place their trust.

    Discord trust and safety

    At Discord, transparency takes center stage. They openly showcase how their Trust and Safety team handles various complaint scenarios and their meticulous thought process when crafting new policies. They even provide a recent example of an updated policy addressing a specific violation.

    Screenshot of the Discord blog

    Discord frequently refers to its quarterly Transparency Reports to underscore the significance of building trust with users. These reports serve as a reminder of Discord’s commitment to accountability and reinforce the vital role played by the Discord Trust and Safety team and its policies.

    Rest assured that Discord leaves no stone unturned in its endeavor to foster a secure and trustworthy environment for its valued users.

    Sharing economy

    Trust and safety are important for sharing economy platforms like ride-sharing services or Airbnb because they involve people sharing their personal assets (like cars or homes) with strangers. Users must feel confident that their information, belongings, and personal safety are protected.

    Voi trust and safety

    Voi logo

    Businesses in the sharing economy are showing some fantastic initiatives when it comes to user safety. Take the ride-sharing segment where Voi is a major player, for instance. Voi even implemented a traffic school to teach their users about safety and regulations—pretty nifty!

    Moreover, Voi performs regular maintenance checks and inspections of the scooters to ensure they are in good working condition and safe for users to ride. They have also implemented geofencing technology to restrict scooter usage in certain areas, such as pedestrian zones or high-traffic locations, and enforced speed limits to reduce the risk of accidents.

    Voi also has a reporting and feedback system that encourages users to report issues or concerns about scooter safety or user behavior. This provides a transparent feedback system to address these concerns and continuously improve the service.

    By implementing these trust and safety measures, ride-sharing companies like Voi and other scooter companies are working to create a secure and reliable environment for users while promoting responsible scooter usage and contributing to the overall safety of urban transportation.

    Regulations that mandate trust and safety

    Regulations that mandate Trust and Safety play a critical role in ensuring online platforms maintain a secure environment for users and adhere to specific standards.

    United States

    Section 230 is a key provision of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. It provides legal protection for online platforms from liability for user-generated content. This means that platforms are not considered publishers and are not held responsible for content posted by their users as long as they make a reasonable effort to remove or restrict access to illegal or harmful content.

    However, Section 230 also encourages platforms to actively engage in content moderation and implement trust and safety measures. Platforms that fail to comply with specific requirements, such as reporting and removing child sexual abuse material or taking action against sex trafficking, can lose their liability protection.

    European Union

    The Digital Services Act (DSA) is a regulation by the European Union to harmonize the legal framework for digital services across the EU. The DSA addresses various aspects of trust and safety, including content moderation, transparency, and liability.

    Under the DSA, platforms are required to:

    • Establish clear and transparent content moderation policies, including measures for removing illegal content.
    • Implement a user-friendly reporting mechanism for users to flag illegal or harmful content.
    • Provide transparency reports that detail their content moderation efforts and the measures taken to address illegal content.
    • Designate a legal representative within the EU to ensure compliance with the DSA and act as a point of contact for authorities.

    Both Section 230 of the CDA and the Digital Services Act serve as important regulatory frameworks for trust and safety in the online environment. They establish requirements for platforms to actively engage in content moderation, implement transparent policies, and maintain a secure user environment while addressing the platforms’ legal responsibilities and liabilities.

    Brand benefits of improving trust and safety

    Unlocking the potential of your platform by enhancing its digital Trust and Safety is a game-changer. While building a strong program, integrating effective moderation solutions, and implementing a comprehensive strategy may present challenges, the benefits far outweigh them. By cultivating a safe and trusted user base, you pave the way for loyal brand ambassadors who drive the metrics that truly matter to your application. 

    A strong Trust and Safety program enhances online visibility and shields you from negative headlines. It establishes your reputation as a platform with zero tolerance for hate speech, bullying, and other cybercrimes, positioning you as a less risky and more attractive partner for investors and advertisers.

    Case studies: Trust and safety done right

    Digital transactions have become an integral part of every industry in the modern business landscape. Whether it’s financial operations, sharing crucial information, or other essential activities, businesses must pay attention to the significance of implementing a robust digital Trust and Safety strategy. Let’s delve into four industries that demand meticulous attention to Trust and Safety threats. Additionally, we will provide noteworthy examples of existing policies adopted by companies in each vertical. Let’s explore how safeguarding digital trust is paramount in these sectors.


    Amazon has consistently implemented robust security measures, clear privacy policies, efficient content moderation, and adhered to industry-specific regulations. This approach has helped the company build user trust, reduce security incidents, and improve customer retention. Key measures taken by Amazon include:

    • Secure payment processing with encryption and tokenization to protect customer data.
    • Rigorous content moderation to ensure product listings meet quality and safety standards.
    • Adherence to consumer protection laws and regulations, such as the EU’s GDPR.


    Cerner, a prominent EHR provider, prioritizes user safety and data security in their systems, ensuring compliance with HIPAA protection regulations. The company is dedicated to creating a secure and reliable environment for patients and healthcare providers, leading to higher user engagement and a positive brand reputation. Key measures taken by Cerner include:

    • Utilizing advanced encryption and secure data transmission to protect sensitive patient information.
    • Implementing strict access controls and authentication methods, such as multi-factor authentication, to prevent unauthorized access to patient data.
    • Regularly conducting security audits and updates to maintain a secure environment for users and healthcare providers.

    Summary and key takeaways

    The importance of trust and safety cannot be overstated. By investing in robust security measures, privacy policies, and user control, businesses can create a secure and reliable online environment that promotes user satisfaction, brand reputation, and customer retention.

    Prioritizing trust and safety is a moral obligation and a smart business strategy that leads to long-term success.

    If you’re interested in learning more, we are always available for a quick chat with no strings attached. We’re happy to talk to you!