We held our first Trust and Safety meet-up for European professionals recently in Concentrix + Webhelp’s Paris offices. Our array of expert panel speakers were there to discuss two hot industry topics: wellbeing amongst T&S professionals and the T&S ramifications of the new Digital Services Act. If you couldn’t attend, don’t worry we’ve got you covered. Read on for all the key takeaways.

 

At Concentrix + Webhelp we are passionate about developing a community of European Trust & Safety professionals. We also think it’s essential that the T&S industry hears from people with different perspectives. This first meet-up was a chance to meet, learn and share best practices: learning from multiple points of view will help make all of us more effective.

The audience was made up of online platforms, TSPA members and other leaders shaping the T&S industry. First up was a moderated discussion on wellbeing. We discussed the benefits of a wellbeing strategy, what that strategy might look like and the tech tools needed, plus the point of view from a wellbeing provider. 

 

First session – Wellbeing in trust and safety

With a panel of wellbeing experts from our own business, as well as external consultants and representatives from large online businesses, we began by exploring the purpose of wellbeing. 

We talked about the need to protect our people, supporting those on the social media frontline and its moderators, who keep our internet safe. Just like anyone working on a frontline, they need to be given the resources and safe environment that allows them to thrive in the face of potential adversity. 

Employers have a duty of care to them, but the need for it goes further. A robust wellbeing program protects a business by providing the insight and visibility that can mitigate and reduce risk.

 

Creating and implementing a successful wellbeing strategy 

Our panelists discussed the importance of a wellbeing strategy that’s tailored to the needs of your people and the type of work they do. No two jobs are the same. Different types of content and roles produce different diverse impacts on mental health, resilience, and performance. 

Just because online moderators aren’t exposed to sensitive or egregious subject matter doesn’t mean that they don’t need a wellbeing program to support them.

The panel discussed research that has shown there are cultural differences in gender, tenure, and by generation. So to be effective, your wellbeing program cannot be off the shelf – you need to be mindful of diverse needs, and implement a strategy that addresses them.

 

What are some key financial investments that are needed for wellbeing programs?

The panel discussed the speed at which the industry is evolving, and how AI is changing the way we moderate content. There is a huge need to invest in research and technology to ensure that businesses have a really good understanding of the impact on their people. Investing in technology can make that work easier. 

The ‘welltech’ sector is growing fast and there’s a lot companies can do to respond more quickly to the needs of the individual, targeting interventions to the right people at the right time.

 

How can we successfully manage confidentiality in wellbeing activities? 

The panel also discussed the need to maintain confidentiality. It’s the number one rule for psychologists and anyone who provides counseling or 1:1 support in a wellbeing role. It’s not just an important topic for T&S but employee wellbeing in general. 

Employees can be reluctant to share anything about their mental health with their employers: including what (if anything) makes them anxious, or even to acknowledge that they have challenges at all. This is primarily because people fear that if their employer knows about their mental health, they might be judged, overlooked for promotion, or even terminated. 

On the other side of the equation, T&S professionals need to have some awareness of how employees’ work might be impacting their health, safety and performance.

And so while it’s important that counselors maintain that confidentiality, reporting wellbeing data in an anonymous and aggregated form is absolutely key. After all, that data is just as important as in any other business indicator. 

With it we can identify trends, monitor progress, and identify the impact of mental wellbeing on performance. This insight allows a business to intervene early, which can potentially mitigate harmful behaviors and give people the tools they need to succeed. It’s the trust gained by guaranteeing confidentiality that allows a good company to collect this valuable data.

 

Second session – a discussion of the Digital Services Act (DSA)

 

Our second moderated panel discussion looked at the emerging challenges and opportunities of the Digital Services Act: its application for bigger players and how that compares for medium-sized to smaller players. 

Our panel included leaders from Checkstep, an AI-powered content moderation platform, as well as legal experts who helped draft the original DSA and now help companies implement its regulations.

 

What is the DSA and why is it important?

The European Union’s Digital Services Act (DSA) is a piece of EU legislation which will have a significant impact when it comes fully into force on February 2024 (it’s already in place for the largest digital players).  

These large companies include social media sites X, Instagram and TikTok; the search engine Google and online encyclopedia Wikipedia; as well as large online marketplaces like Alibaba, Amazon and Zalando.

The DSA is a new set of rules to keep users safe online with stronger protections for their individual rights. It’s also to encourage more innovation and growth among all online businesses — especially small businesses — by leveling the competitive playing field.

 

What type of businesses will be affected? 

Our discussion began with acknowledging that the barrier to DSA compliance is not uniformly high for all operating platforms. The level of compliance for most companies might not be as hard to implement as they might think.

Regulations will become more complex over time and while for some smaller companies, the DSA regulations may feel like a burden, assessment of compliance should always include a sense of proportionality. 

The panel discussed how third-party audit companies will have an increasing role to play, with comparison made with the very first Anti-Money Laundering obligations. 

All digital players in the EU single market fall under the DSA’s regulations but it will depend on the size and scale of business. These players include:

 

  • Very large online platforms and search engines (VLOPs and VLOSEs)

Large-scale digital brands whose reach is more than 45m (10% of the 450 million-plus monthly active users in Europe). The DSA is already in effect for these businesses and the responsibilities (and potential fines) will be more onerous for the large brands.

 

  • Intermediaries

These entities offer network infrastructure like service providers and hosting services, as well as internet online marketplaces. This category includes the large majority of medium- and small-sized marketplace operators.

 

  • Micro-organisations 

Smaller, faster-growing organizations have longer grace periods before the DSA applies, to allow them to plan and transition. 


The DSA gives space to companies to decide how they want to run their business, because the whole EU regulatory framework is designed to work efficiently (and in this regard, fines are supposed to be coercive measures).

 

Why collaboration is so important

To conclude our evening our guests heard from Benoit Loutrel, a board member of the French media regulator ARCOM. As a governmental body that’s a member of the EU taskforce for regulation, it has been closely involved in the implementation of the DSA. 

 

His closing remarks stressed the need for closer collaboration between everyone in our industry: T&S operators and platforms, regulators and policymakers. Trust and Safety is an industry where we share so openly with one another because it is so important that we all get it right: for our platforms and our people.

 

It’s why Concentrix + Webhelp will be hosting more of these regional events for T&S professionals in 2024. If you are interested in attending either as a member of the audience or as one of our speakers, we want to hear from you.