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Empowering the Internet's Essential Workers: Our Partnership with Griffith College

Every day, our team works side-by-side with Trust and Safety professionals at some of the world’s largest platforms to protect people from toxic content and disinformation. These people are the internet’s essential workers and we’re proud to work alongside them.

These professionals do a job that is vitally necessary but often challenging and frequently distressing. Working in Trust and Safety means being a specialist in areas as broad as ethics and legal, policy creation and enforcement and product management. People come from all types of educational backgrounds and have a wide range of experience that doesn’t always prepare them for the stress or trauma of the role. Sadly, mental health issues and burnout are all too common.

Over the last two years, we’ve been thinking more deeply about how we can fulfil Kinzen’s mission to empower this growing professional class of workers beyond our day-to-day work of spotting harmful narratives and abuse. 

Today, we’re delighted to announce that Kinzen is partnering with Griffith College to launch the world’s first postgraduate qualification for the fast-growing sector of professionals working in internet trust and safety. 

But first, a little on how we got here.

A trusted partner

At the start of 2020, we approached Griffith College, one of the largest and longest established colleges in Ireland, to think about what a formalised Trust and Safety programme might look like.

Like Kinzen, Griffith is based in the heart of Dublin but with campuses across the country catering for a wide range of students. And, like us, it had noticed the large uptick in the number of people going into the Trust and Safety sector.

Working with Dr Robbie Smyth, deputy head of Journalism and Media Communications at Griffith College, we set about researching the programmes in Ireland and abroad that could equip moderators and people working in Trust and Safety teams. Quickly, we found that there was little in the way of suitable formal academic programmes.

During this time, we also interviewed current and former employees from a range of social media platforms and business processing outsourcing (BPO) companies about the skills they needed to survive and thrive in the Trust and Safety space. We heard that they were expected to have:

  • An ethical approach to policy and content moderation judgements 
  • Strong critical thinking and problem solving, especially when dealing with unfamiliar cultural contexts
  • Good project management, communication and presentation skills to convey complex information and scenarios.

These signals also came out strongly in our recent report on the challenges that Trust and Safety practitioners face in their day-to-day work. So we knew we had to do something.

Empowering the essential workers of the future

Using those insights and our own experience, Kinzen and Griffith have created the world’s first postgraduate qualification for professionals working in internet trust and safety. 

The Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) in Arts in Trust, Safety and Content Moderation Management will equip people working at social media platforms and business processing outsourcing (BPO) companies with the skills to think about, design and enforce policies that define acceptable online behaviour.

The course will contain modules delivered by law professors, philosophy scholars and media experts on topics as diverse as:

  • Toxic Speech and Abuse of Social Platforms
  • Social Media Regulation 
  • Platform Standards and Ethics
  • Self-care and Wellbeing
  • Digital Investigations

The varied nature of Trust and Safety roles will be reflected in the different teaching methods of the course. Students will be asked to present on thorny ethical issues, write essays on complex topics and debate the trade-offs of policy positions with classmates. Our aim is to produce Trust and Safety professionals fit for the job market, both now and in the future.

This is the first time that these skills, knowledge and information have been brought together under one programme. We believe the unique mix of formats and topics, shaped by the real-life experience of Trust and Safety experts working in the field today, will set early-stage professionals up for a career in this fast-growing but challenging space. 

We’re proud of what we’ve created and we can’t wait to welcome the first set of students to the course.

Kinzen is partnering with Griffith College, Dublin to launch the first ever postgraduate qualification for content moderators and Trust and Safety specialists. The course begins in February 2022. Visit Griffith’s website to find out more and apply.