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Content Governance in the Internet Media & Services Industry

Transitioned to the ISSB
Last Update 07/27/22

This project will evaluate the financial impacts on companies, and the management activities used by companies, related to harmful online content and user freedom of expression in the Internet Media & Services industry.

Sector

Technology & Communications

Issues

Content Moderation

Project Status

Completed

Project Overview

Effective on August 1, 2022, the Value Reporting Foundation consolidated into the IFRS Foundation. At that time, stewardship of the SASB Standards—including all active projects—passed from the SASB Standards Board to the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB). The ISSB has committed to building on the SASB Standards and progressing ongoing SASB projects. Any future updates to the SASB Standards resulting from this project will be subject to ISSB due process prior to being finalized.

The information below is intended to provide interested parties with historical information regarding the status of this project at the time of the consolidation.

Project Objective

This project will evaluate the financial impacts on companies, and the management activities used by companies, related to harmful online content and freedom of expression for platform users in the Internet Media & Services industry.

Project Background

Based on the the research conducted during the Content Moderation research project, the Board approved a separate standard-setting project in the Internet Media & Services industry.

The Internet Media & Services Industry Standard does not currently address the financial impacts of harmful online content or the impacts of online content moderation on freedom of expression for platform users. As such, the current standard may be incomplete.

This project has an associated research project.

On June 2, 2022, the SASB Standards Board released recommended changes to the Internet Media & Services Standard in connection with this project. These recommended changes, which can be accessed below under “Published Documents,” represent changes to the Standards that the SASB Standards Board would have pursued through the publication of exposure drafts, including an invitation to comment, if there were sufficient time to advance the project through the next phases of due process as outlined in the SASB Rules of Procedure.

The SASB Standards Board published these recommended changes for the ISSB’s consideration and for market participants interested in following continued efforts to improve and maintain the SASB Standards.


Project Status

Transitioned to the ISSB


Board Materials & Decisions

Board Meeting Outcomes

June 2022

  • The board discussed the recommended changes to the Internet Media & Services Standard, including the addition of a new disclosure topic and five associated metrics that intend to capture risks and opportunities associated with the dissemination of user-generated content on internet platforms.
  • The Board discussed several areas where further market input might improve the recommended changes, including:
    • The type of quantitative data captured by the content moderation table
    • The structure and applicability of the metric capturing total amount spent on content governance
    • Gathering subject matter expertise from a wider range of stakeholders, representing different types of preparers and functions within companies
  • The recommended changes are being passed to the ISSB for further deliberation and will be subject to the ISSB’s due process.

March 2022

  • Staff presented an update to the Board on the development of an exposure draft and basis for conclusions for the Internet Media & Services Standard. Staff presented several proposed metrics for Board consideration and summarized the market feedback received on those metrics to date.
  • Board discussion focused on two proposed metrics: one capturing company expenses on content governance, and the other related to global approaches to content governance and associated risks.
  • Regarding the first metric, Board members noted potential challenges with defining clear boundaries for which expenses to include and offered some suggestions for how staff could engage the market to develop the metric further.
  • Board members supported including the second metric covering global approaches to content governance, while noting potential limitations with both qualitative and quantitative approaches to metric development.
  • Staff is working towards finalization of the exposure draft and accompanying basis for conclusions in the second quarter of 2022.

July 2021

Staff presented an update to the Board on the status of the project, including a review of the recent consultation period

The Board provided the staff with input regarding the potential structure of a revised Standard, including disclosure topics and associated metrics

  • Some Board members supported the staff recommendation to revise the current privacy-oriented disclosure topic and create a new disclosure topic focused on content governance themes, while other Board members raised questions regarding how the topics could best address the concepts of freedom of expression for platform users and government requests for platform user data.
  • The Board was largely supportive of staff moving forward with its proposed approach to metrics development for content moderation, while noting the desire to further deepen market input and how further consultations and an exposure draft may lead to more comprehensive market input on the project.

September 2020

  • The Board approved a proposal to add this project to the research agenda.

Board Materials

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


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.