Trust, Safety and the Digital Economy: Understanding the value of healthy online communities

In this article for the Safety Tech Innovation Network, Jamie Douglas from Ipsos UK highlights key findings from their new publication, ‘Trust, Safety and the Digital Economy’.

Online trust and safety have never been more important. Across the globe the building blocks of a better internet are becoming more apparent.

Regulation clearly has its key role to play, and countries such as the UK are strengthening legal and regulatory systems to offer greater protection for their citizens online.

However, as our new report ‘Trust, Safety and the Digital Economy’ demonstrates, businesses are also increasingly realising the value of building and nurturing trustworthy digital environments in protecting their brands, engaging their staff and supporting their users.

Over the past year, together with our research partners Perspective Economics and Careful Industries, we have spoken to dozens of organisations in interviews and workshops from across the digital economy to understand in greater detail why these companies are investing in online trust and safety. Our findings suggest that stakeholders believe support for online trust, safety and the growth of healthy user communities delivers tangible benefits to business including:

  • Growing trust in brands
  • Cultivating more engaged users, and higher levels of both staff and customer retention
  • Anticipating new and emerging regulatory measures.

Our research also takes a broader look across the wider UK digital economy to understand the market segments most relevant to trust and safety, and the potential of the emerging market. We found use cases for trust and safety measures across six core sectors of the UK digital economy. Together these market sectors contribute an estimated £243 billion of value to the UK economy, and include:

  • Gaming and Entertainment
  • Social Media, Apps and Platforms
  • Media and Creative Industries
  • Retail and Service Economy
  • Digital Infrastructure
  • Public Sector

Finally, we found an increasing number of UK businesses are also building multi-disciplinary trust and safety teams in-house, with the number of trust and safety job postings by UK businesses almost doubling in 2021, to more than 10,000 vacancies. These in-house trust and safety teams, coupled with the deployment of safety tech solutions, allow businesses to both develop bespoke technical solutions and consider the wider norms and values they want to embed in their approach. This growing workforce is motivated to make online spaces safer and to start connecting to share good practice across disciplines and industries.

While the trust and safety sector may still be at a comparatively early stage, it is one that is widely seen to have potential. As it increases in prominence, there is a growing argument for the commercial – as well as ethical – benefits of delivering safer online communities for all.

Download the report

Trust, Safety and the Digital Economy – download the PDF or read online.

Take part in the webinar: 1st November 2022

We will be discussing the report findings in an online event with the report authors and the Trust and Safety Professional Association.

Register for the event here.

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