Content Moderation on Internet Platforms

Page Last Updated: October 5, 2020


Project Overview

Project Objective

The purpose of this research will be to evaluate technology companies’ management of user-generated content, advertisements, and other third-party content to assess implications related to social capital.

Project Background

Technology companies are grappling with how to moderate user-generated content, political ads and other third-party content hosted on their platforms. The related issues, including terrorist content, disinformation and hate speech, are not captured in SASB standards, despite being potentially large value drivers and of increasing investor interest.

In this research project, SASB staff will:

  • Define what SASB shall consider as “content moderation” issues (removal of illegal or objectionable user-generated content, review of third-party ads or products, concerns regarding the mental health of content reviewers) and the industries/business activities to which they apply
  • Categorize content moderation issues through the lens of SASB’s General Issue Categories (customer welfare, product safety, employee health & safety, etc.)
  • Establish an initial evidence-based view on whether and how content moderation issues have a financial impact on relevant companies
  • Provide a recommendation to the Standards Board on whether to proceed to standard-setting
Project Status

Current Status

Research Project – Added to Research Program

Next Steps

 The project lead is currently consulting with investors, issuers and subject matter experts and conducting other primary research. The project lead additionally will produce a Taxonomy document, highlights of which were presented to the Standards Board at the Q2 2020 meeting, which will be published prior to the end of 2020.
As a result of research conducted as part of this research project, the project lead recommended that the Standards Board approve a separate standard-setting project in the Internet Media & Services industry at the September board meeting. The board approved the addition of this standard-setting project, titled Content Governance in the Internet Media & Services Industry, to the research agenda.
Contact Information

Greg Waters
Sector Analyst – Technology & Communications, SASB
greg.waters@sasb.org

Published Documents & Supplemental Materials

Published Documents

There are no published documents or drafts at this time. The project lead intends to publish a Taxonomy document during the course of this research project.

Supplemental Materials

SASB to Research Content Moderation on Internet Platforms, December 2019, online blog

Board Materials & Decisions

Board Meeting Outcomes

  • Q4 2019: The Board discussed a new research project on Content Moderation on Internet Platforms.
  • Q2 2020: The Board reviewed a draft of the Taxonomy document prepared by staff and discussed potential implications on standard-setting.
  • Q3 2020: The Board approved a standard-setting project, Content Governance in the Internet Media & Services Industry, based on research conducted as part of this research project. The research project will remain ongoing.

 

Board Materials

September 2020

June 2020

December 2019

For a full list of past and upcoming Standards Board meetings, as well as associated materials, please visit our Board Meetings Calendar & Archive.

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The staff has prepared this summary for informational purposes only. Any Standards Board decisions are tentative and do not change current accounting. Official positions of SASB are determined only after extensive due process and deliberations.