Trust & Safety Curriculum

Curriculum Overview

Billions of people around the world learn, work, connect, and express themselves online. As internet platforms democratize access to information in an unprecedented way, they can also inadvertently facilitate the coordination of harmful activity and provide a venue for bad behavior. To effectively safeguard their users from harmful content, these companies must grapple with incredibly complex issues, from child sexual exploitation to misinformation, while also responding to new and rapidly evolving threats.  Policies and decisions by companies have real-world consequences, whether it is the safety of an individual or political repercussions for a nation; it is no wonder that civil society groups, governments, and regulatory bodies are increasingly scrutinizing the measures technology companies take to preserve users’ safety and privacy. This complex and high-stakes landscape has fueled a recent explosion of public interest in the field of trust and safety; it has also illustrated the importance of investing in trust and safety teams who are responsible for determining and enforcing the policies that keep users safe.

TSPA partners with those trust and safety teams to equip them with the expertise and skills they need to successfully navigate this incredibly high-stakes environment. This curriculum, written by volunteers with extensive experience in the field, is a key piece of that support. The Trust & Safety Curriculum defines core concepts, terms, and standard practices that make up the body of knowledge we call “trust and safety.” Through this curriculum, we hope to develop and democratize access to this field by helping aspiring or new trust and safety professionals gain a deeper understanding of this work. We hope this curriculum provides context on the complex considerations that influence how trust and safety professionals define acceptable behavior and content online and work to safeguard user safety and privacy. 

Our goals for this curriculum are:

  • For trust and safety professionals, this curriculum will help to validate the incredibly complex work you do. It will give you a picture of how other types of companies approach the challenges you face, and will help you build knowledge in more specialized trust and safety topics. 
  • For start up companies, this curriculum will give you a baseline knowledge of trust and safety and help you build your own trust and safety team. It presents issues to consider when developing trust and safety policies and mechanisms and when hiring trust and safety professionals.
  • For the broader public, this curriculum will give you an inside look at how trust and safety teams operate today. We hope this peek behind the scenes will empower you to ask questions, spark new ideas, and contribute confidently to online community governance structures, and we hope we see some of you join the field! 

Currently this curriculum includes: Key Roles and Functions that make up a trust and safety team, a Glossary of Terms and Definitions, and the Trust & Safety Fundamentals, which are a series of chapters that focus on different topics fundamental to the trust and safety field. We will roll out new chapters as they are written. 

Key Roles and Functions

Although not all trust and safety teams are exactly the same, there are key functions and roles that are common across all trust and safety teams. We describe the different functions that comprise trust and safety and the typical typical titles or roles that fill those functions. Read more.

Glossary

As with any industry, there are common terms or phrases that may be unknown or confusing to anyone else. This glossary defines common terms or words used in the trust and safety or technology field. Read more.

Acknowledgements

The Trust and Safety Curriculum is written by members of the TSPA’s Curriculum Development Working Group, who are trust and safety professionals. Thank you for sharing your expertise with the trust and safety field. For author and additional acknowledgements, visit the acknowledgement page.

Join the Curriculum Working Group

If you are a TSPA member, have expertise in Trust and Safety (particularly in the forthcoming chapters of the Trust and Safety Fundamentals), and want to contribute to this curriculum, sign up to join the working group