A Complete Guide To Building a Trust & Safety or Content Moderation Team

What are Trust & Safety and Content Moderation?

Trust & Safety meaning: The process of monitoring, policing, and preventing fraudulent and/or abusive behavior on your platform. Trusty & Safety includes the policies you create, the interactions you have with users, and the steps you take to ensure your platform is a safe experience for everyone involved.

Who needs a Trust and Safety team?

Both Trust and Safety and content moderation are most often associated with social media platforms or online gaming communities. However, any company with an online presence can quickly find itself in need of moderation policies.

  • Players creating multiple accounts to “game” the system
  • Commenters spreading misinformation
  • Spam
  • Racism or hate speech
  • Unauthorized requests for users’ personal information
  • Pornography
  • Harassment of users on your social media profiles

7 steps to building a great Trust and Safety team

  1. Create clear guidelines for your team
  • Intuition and empathy: like all customer service roles, empathetic understanding is important. Without empathy, it’s difficult to connect with people and make the right decisions.
  • Research skills: agents will frequently need to put their investigative hat on to dive into account details, research new conspiracy theories, and fraud issues. The ability to search for information quickly and accurately will be a huge help in this role.
  • Problem-solving: Fraud investigations are a little like piecing together a puzzle, so problem-solving skills are a must.
  • Attention to detail: there’s a lot of nuance in trust and safety work. Attention to detail will ensure nothing gets overlooked.
  • Grammar and spelling: an important skill in all customer service roles, but critically important when it comes to professional and serious communication around sensitive subject matter.
  • Quick learners: agents will need to quickly pick up new systems like Salesforce, Zendesk, or social media platforms.
  • Service experience: look for past customer service, retail, or hospitality experience that shows an ability to connect with customers and care about their experience.
  • Ability to distance themselves from their biases: all humans have biases based on their life experiences, and we all bring ourselves to work. But can the candidate identify their biases and make objective decisions?
  • Spreadsheet of examples that are unusual or in a grey area, along with the steps that were taken.
  • Self-guided training tools such as Lessonly to review guidelines and action steps.
  • Easily searchable, thorough documentation of content moderation guidelines.
  • Help agents learn how to fact-check and investigate new issues, such as using factcheck.org or Snopes before bringing the issue to the team.
  • Plan ahead for major events, such as the May 2021 Derek Chauvin trial or an upcoming election. Be aware of any controversial issues that are popping up in the news.
  • Create a coordinated document where agents can log new issues and examples that arise. Review this document often to spot trends.
  • Investigate and notate flagged content so that other agents can see the thought process behind each decision.
  • Review updates in a weekly team meeting and discuss any unresolved issues as a team so everyone is on the same page.
  1. 10-minute rule: It can be easy to get wrapped up in a case that doesn’t have an obvious outcome, especially one that hits close to home. Rather than dwell on it for too long, we use a 10-minute rule: if you’re taking longer than 10 minutes, bring it to the team. We can discuss it together and make a quicker decision. This way the decision doesn’t weigh heavily on one team member.
  2. Check-ins: Each team member will have a preferred way to check-in. Whether it’s a weekly team meeting to provide those watercooler moments, one-on-one meetings with team leads, or a generic Slack channel to send cat memes in, these moments are a life-saver for agents in stressful work environments.
  3. Staying focused on guidelines: policies that are thorough and prescriptive can actually help reduce the emotional burden Trust and Safety has on agents. When discussing potential issues, root the conversation in the guidelines, not in your personal feelings.
  4. Company-wide culture: Many benefits provided at a company level can help alleviate burnout, such as wellness sessions, mental health support, and generous vacation and personal day policies. Adopting a flexible managerial style, where agents can check-in and take time away from the queue can also help.
  5. Remember the purpose: Occasionally the work can get monotonous, so it’s important to remember why Trust and Safety and content moderation are so important. There are a lot of customers using the platform who are protected by this work. Collaborating with team members in other departments, such as the marketing or legal team can feel rewarding. Celebrating the small wins daily such as responding to discussions with a super-hero emoji can boost the team’s mood.
  • How many fraud reports do you receive?
  • What is the impact on NPS after implementing a trust and safety program? Are people more likely to refer you to friends and family?
  • Add a question to customer surveys to ask about trust. “On a scale from 1 to 5, how much do you agree with the following statement: I trust [Company] to keep my information safe.”
  • Read reviews of your company on Trustpilot and other websites where customers can rate their experience.

Peak Support can help

Whether you’re just getting started with Trust and Safety, or if you’re looking to scale your team, Peak Support can help you get it right. Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Peak Support is a rapidly growing services provider dedicated to providing exceptional support to high-growth companies. We offer a wide array of services including customer support, sales operations, and business process outsourcing. Our global delivery model enables us to provide service from the Philippines and the U.S. We hire the best agents in the business and we are relentlessly dedicated to helping our clients succeed.



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Hannah Clark Steiman

Hannah Clark Steiman

Chief Operating Officer at Peak Support. We provide exceptional customer service and business process outsourcing. www.peaksupport.io.