Trust & Safety Glossary of Terms

As the Trust and Safety field grows — in significance, complexity, and number of practitioners — there is a corresponding value to ensuring a common understanding exists of key terms used by the people who work to keep users of digital services safe. Although companies have long used combinations of people, processes, and technology to address content- and conduct-related risks, this field, following the trajectory of other technology specializations like cybersecurity and privacy, has reached a critical point where it has begun to formalize, mature, and achieve self-awareness.


Important discussions are happening all around the world, in homes, schools, businesses, and at all levels of government, about what Trust and Safety should look like to best serve societies and their evolving relationships to the internet. But meaningful discussion has at times been limited by the lack of a shared vocabulary.


Over the past year, the Digital Trust & Safety Partnership (DTSP) has been working to develop the first industry glossary of Trust and Safety terms. Following a public consultation, in which DTSP received valuable input from stakeholders including academic organizations, industry partners, regulators, and others from around the world, we are releasing the first edition of the glossary.


Led by DTSP co-founder Alex Feerst, this glossary has the following objectives:


  • Aid the professionalization of the field and support nascent Trust and Safety teams as they build out their operations;
  • Support the adoption of agreed interpretations of critical terms used across the industry; and
  • Facilitate informed dialogue between industry, policymakers, regulators, and the wider public.


The goal for this first edition has been to describe how key terms are used by practitioners in industry. These are not legal definitions, and their publication does not imply that every DTSP partner company fully agrees with every term as defined here.