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



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

Trust principles – concepts like transparency, data ethics, and freedom from harm that tie directly back to what is needed for users or customers to be confident in the product or service they are using


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