The digital world has steadily become an indispensable part of our real lives — and with this, the numerous risks posed by online interactions have grown exponentially. 

Today online platforms where people can communicate or share user-generated content need to step up their protective measures. That’s necessary for ethical, reputational, and legal reasons.

For one, digital platforms have a responsibility to safeguard the interests of their users — and especially of vulnerable groups among them. Protecting online communities and providing an inclusive environment is imperative from the point of view of branding too. There’s also a growing body of national and international legislation requiring concrete safety measures from online platforms. 

Whether you’re just launching an online platform, or are looking for ways to boost the safety measures of an existing one, there are tried-and-tested practices you can implement. At their core, they’re targeted at preventing intentional and unintentional harm to your users and at protecting their privacy, safety, and dignity. 

Online Communities Safe

How To Keep Your Online Communities Safe

We’ve compiled a list of proven tips for setting up a protection plan for your online community. They can help you get ahead of the threats — and minimize the necessary efforts. 

1. Check Your Platform Design for Risks

It’s way more effective and cheaper to take preemptive actions towards risks — rather than waiting for harm to happen and addressing it only then. 

That’s a solid guiding principle for your platform’s protection plan. You can apply it already during the design stage when you’re defining the features and functions you’d like to include.  

Most importantly, you can plan the functionalities of your platform with safety in mind. This includes considering:

  • How ill-meaning users can abuse the platform and harm or defraud others — and how you can prevent that 
  • How safety principles can be implemented in the creation of features and functions
  • The types of harmful content that can be or is most likely to be generated on your particular platform
  • How the interaction between the different functionalities can give rise to risks and harms for users
  • How to set up an effective reporting and complaints system 
  • Ways to automate the processes, taking care of users’ safety and minimizing the risk of exposure to unsafe content

2. Analyze Vulnerable Groups at Risk

The next essential step in your protection plan is to identify the groups using your platform that are at a higher risk from online harm. 

Most commonly, one of these groups is that of younger users. Naturally, they shouldn’t be exposed to unsafe and adult content. They should also be protected from the potential advances of older users. In some cases, you may even want to limit the age for the users of your platform. 

There are different ways to address the needs of younger users, such as:

  • Setting up a trustworthy system for verifying the age of users 
  • Creating access restrictions for younger users
  • Establishing rules for interacting with underage users and enforcing restrictions through technology

Children are just one of many potential vulnerable groups. Your analysis may show you other types of users who are at an increased risk of harm while using your online platform. These may include differently-abled users, members of minorities, and others. 

Depending on the precise risks for each vulnerable group, it’s important to have tailored plans for protection for each of them. It’s also a good idea to improve the overall safety of your platform — so you can deliver an inclusive and protected environment for everyone.  

internet safe space

3. Set Up a Trust and Safety Program and a Dedicated Team

Building and implementing a sound Trust and Safety program has become an essential prerequisite for online platforms that want to protect their users and be in legal compliance. 

In essence, your Trust and Safety program is the command center of all your efforts to protect your users. It has to contain all your guidelines and activities intended to minimize risks connected with using your platform. 

Some crucial aspects to consider include:

  • The wide variety of potential violations that can be committed
  • The dynamic nature of potential violations which evolve with technological changes
  • The different nuances in harmful and inappropriate user content and interactions
  • The most effective approaches to content moderation as a central part of your program

Online platforms that take their Trust and Safety programs seriously have dedicated teams making sure that community rules are respected. This means having an overall approach to safety, rather than simply hiring a content moderation person or team.

Your safety team should:

  • Know thoroughly the major risks that users face on your platform 
  • Be knowledgeable about your protection practices 
  • Have the right resources, training, and support to implement your Trust and Safety program effectively 
how to be internet safe

4. Don’t Spare Efforts on Content Moderation

Finally, we get to the essential protection mechanism for online platforms with user-generated content and communication: content moderation. It is an indispensable tool for keeping your community safe. 

Content moderation has been employed for years now by platforms of all sizes — from giants like Facebook and Twitter to small e-commerce websites. It entails the practice of filtering content for different types of inappropriate and harmful materials. Moderation can span text, visuals, video, and live streaming, depending on the specifics and needs of a platform. 

While content moderation is the key to a safe and inclusive online platform, it takes its toll on the people who actually perform it. It’s a burdensome and traumatic job that leaves many moderators drained and damaged. Yet, it’s indispensable.

That’s why automatic content moderation has become an important technological advancement in the field. Powered by Artificial Intelligence, moderation platforms like Imagga take care of the toughest part of the filtering process. Image recognition and text filtering allow the fast, safe, and precise elimination of the most disturbing content, whether it’s in written posts, photos, illustrations, videos, or live streaming. 

Naturally, there’s still a need for human input in the moderation process. But that’s possible too, by combining automatic filtering with different levels of engagement by human moderators. The blend between effective automation and expert insights gets better with time too, as the AI algorithms learn from previous decisions and improve with each moderation batch.  

Automating Your Content Moderation: How Imagga Can Help

Most safety measures are time-consuming and need specific members of staff to apply them. 

The good news is that the labor-intensive and traumatic content moderation can be easily automated — taking it to unseen speed and safety levels. This is what Imagga’s AI-powered automatic content moderation platform can deliver.

The moderation solution can be tweaked to match the exact needs of your platform at any given moment. For each of your projects that need content monitoring, you can set up priority levels, batch sizes, content and retention policies, and categories management. Most importantly, you can control the threshold levels for human moderation when borderline cases have to be reviewed by a moderation expert.

You can also easily modify the settings for your moderators by assigning them to different projects, and setting custom rules for them to follow, among others. The moderation process for your staff is simplified and as automated as possible. 

With Imagga, you can either provide the platform to your in-house moderation team, or you can hire an external team from us that will skillfully complement your protection measures. In both cases, the AI moderation algorithms do the heavy job, complemented by the minimum possible input from human moderators. 
Ready to give it a go? You can get in touch with us to find out how Imagga can help you protect your online community with its powerful content moderation solutions.