Why You Should Add a Trust and Safety Officer to the Leadership Team

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Businesses need someone responsible for creating a consistent user experience built on security and trust.


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As trust becomes less of a nebulous idea and more of a competitive advantage, it might be time to add a new role to the leadership team. Trust and security managers can keep tabs on the entire user experience and make sure it’s comfortable and not scary. These leaders can develop community policies and guide moderation teams to create safe online spaces.

Tiffany Xingyu Wang, director of strategy and marketing at Spectrum Labs, said trust and safety leaders should be part of the leadership team.

“I passionately believe that the Trust and Safety Officer should be part of the C-suite because user safety issues can have a terrible impact on a brand and its reputation, and can even end the business. “, she said.

Wang also recommends that the person in this position have a company-wide goal related to user safety and work with executives from product, engineering, marketing, legal, human resources, privacy and security to achieve it.

“It’s not the status quo right now, but it’s where the industry is rapidly moving towards,” she said.

Akif Khan, VP analyst at Gartner, said the role of a trust and safety officer varies from company to company, depending on the extent of trust and safety in each organization. .

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“In some cases, trust and safety teams have largely focused on protecting the integrity of user accounts and preventing account takeover, preventing market manipulation by buyers and sellers, as well as payment fraud prevention, and have therefore been aligned under the direction of digital commerce or responsible for digital channels,” he said. “In others, where the focus on trust and security is broader and extends to creating safe spaces for user-generated content, I’ve seen alignment under the leadership of customer experience.”

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Khan said that role will become increasingly important as more virtual worlds come online and companies have the opportunity to differentiate themselves through their approach to trust and security.

“Doing that will require having specific leadership in place from the start, it can’t happen as an add-on once virtual worlds grow and behaviors become entrenched,” he said. -he declares.

Khan said CEOs need to have someone like a trust and safety officer responsible for customer experience to ensure that:

  • Brand digital spaces align with customer expectations of integrity (no fake reviews)
  • Digital spaces are inclusive and designed to be accessible to all
  • Users feel safe in an environment without abusive comments or trolling and without protection of personal data

“If all of this is not aligned under one person’s responsibility, things risk falling through the cracks, as many of these areas don’t have a natural home otherwise within the organization” , Khan said.

Because this trust and safety role is so new, there isn’t much formal training for the job. People in these roles need a diverse set of skills, Wang said, ranging from product development, engineering and operations to an understanding of legal, compliance and moderation best practices.

When hiring people to work on trust and safety issues, Wang suggests looking for people who can see the big picture of trust and safety, as well as respond to individual tickets. That means generalists who can handle a wide range of situations, from responding to legal subpoenas to angry parents worried that their children will be harmed on the platform.

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“Later on, when you start implementing more proactive and preventative measures, trust and security departments can split into two separate teams, one that responds to tickets and the other to manage proactive measures” , she said.

TO SEE: Mobile Device Security Policy (TechRepublic Premium)

Assemble the right team and the right tools


Trust and safety officers need strong community policy to be effective in their work, according to Wang.

“It determines what is acceptable, what is a cause of action and what that action is when enforced, as well as any appeal mechanism,” she said.

She lists these three elements of any good policy:

  1. Platform Policy: This open-to-user policy covers community guidelines, rules, and enforcement, including specific areas such as minor security or hate speech.
  2. Product Policy: This internal policy describes how to develop features and user experiences, as well as how trust and security features work within the application.
  3. Public Policy: This covers trust and security considerations required by government regulations in a specific country.

Trust and safety leaders also need the right team to succeed. Wang recommends that this group include the following members:

  • Moderators: to monitor content, review user posts, and act on content that violates community guidelines.
  • Data Labelers: To manage AI model training data and develop tests to identify positive and negative examples of hate speech so models can learn the difference.
  • Analysts: To produce internal and external reports on the effectiveness of a company’s trust and security measures.
  • A Legal Resource: To track relevant regulations and manage subpoenas, you will receive and be part of your company’s law enforcement response team.
  • A project manager: to work with the product, engineering, communications and legal organizations and ensure everyone is on the same page and completing the tasks for success.
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Spectrum Labs is hosting the Safety Matters Summit on May 18-19, a virtual event that will bring together safety experts from brands and users from Mastercard, Riot Games, ABInbev, Twitter, Roblox and TikTok. Speakers will discuss trust in the age of the metaverse.



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