Glossary: Common Terms and Definitions


Adversarial behavior – unwanted behavior intended to work around or avoid detection by moderation rules and systems

At scale – refers to volume; for example, enforcement at scale means enforcing large volume of potentially policy violating content


Banning – permanent removal or blocking a user or account from a platform

Blocking (as in content or user blocking) – (a) prevent a user from posting; (b) prevent certain content from being posted


Child sexual assault material (CSAM) – images or videos depicting child sexual assault

Community Guidelines or Community Standards – a public version of a company’s policies, meant to educate and set expectations on content and behavior that is or is not acceptable on the platform

Community moderation – community members of the platform take the responsibility of moderating content

Content (see also User-Generated Content) – refers to links, text, images, or videos shared by a user


Decision tree – a tree-shaped model for describing a set of possible decisions and their consequences

Downranking – where content or a user is ranked lower, to reduce the visibility of that content

Downvoting – where content receives “down” votes, limiting the visibility of that content

Doxxing – publishing private information (including phone number, physical address) with the intent of harassing or harm against an individual


Enforcement – actions companies take on content that violates policy, which can include hiding, limiting exposure, or removing content


Flagging – users can flag or note a piece of content as potentially violating policy or as problematic


Geo-blocking – restricting users’ access to specific content based on their geographical location


Legal information request – official requests by law enforcement or governing bodies for information about a company’s user(s)


Personally identifiable information (PII) – data that could potentially identify an individual. More information on PII.

Phishing – sending a message, pretending to be from a legitimate company or individual, with the goal of getting personal information, such as credit card information, bank account information, etc.

Platform – refers to a product or service. Sometimes this term is used interchangeably to refer to a company, although a company can have more than one platform.

Policy (as in content policy) – the set of rules and principles that a platform uses to govern the conduct of its users

Product – refers to the different services offered by a company


Terms of Service/Terms of Use – a set of rules that a user agrees to when accessing a service or platform

Tombstone notice – a message in place of removed content stating that the content was removed due to violating content policy

Torrent websites – websites that allow peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing of files, which often include copyrighted material

Transparency report – a public report released by a company that includes key metrics and information about their digital governance and enforcement measure


User data – includes user-generated content as well as information about the user

User-generated content (UGC) – refers to links, text, images, or videos shared by a user