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Wikimedia Foundation/Legal/Community Resilience and Sustainability/Trust and Safety

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Trust and Safety

Trust and Safety (sometimes referred to as T&S), formerly known as Community Advocacy, CA or SuSa,[1] identifies, builds and – as appropriate – supports processes which keep our communities safe. Additionally, Trust and Safety designs, develops, and follows a strategy that integrates legal, product, engineering, research, and learning and evaluation to proactively mitigate risks and promote safety of our online and offline communities. Trust and Safety comprises part of the Community Resilience and Sustainability team of the Legal Department. We aim to provide compassionate, credible, and comprehensive Trust and Safety services to the Foundation and the communities and affiliates it supports. While our team aims to be preventative in much of our work, most of our time is spent responding to community members in distress. For more detailed information about the rationale of the team, see our Overview.

Evaluation and reporting:

Jan Eissfeldt

Director, Global Head of Trust & Safety

How we work

The Trust and Safety team supports staff, the public and volunteers in our community through approximately 13 workflows in three broad areas. The team is composed of three sub-teams: Policy, Operations, and Disinformation. You can find more details in Programs and Processes.

Trust and Safety

As defined in the Universal Code of Conduct Enforcement Guidelines, the Wikimedia Foundation aims to defer to local and global community processes to govern on-wiki interactions. At times, we must step in to protect the safety and integrity of our contributors, the platform and the public. We support a healthy environment on our projects through several work areas. Among other measures, we receive and handle reports of major safety issues on Wikimedia projects, including suicide threats, threats of violence, and child pornography. We also own the policies regarding Wikimedia Foundation bans of users from the projects and from Foundation-funded or supported events, and we work with other Foundation teams to address concerns about user privacy and freedom that do not necessarily rise to the level of bans.

As a part of the Foundation’s commitment to respect community autonomy, the Trust and Safety team does not handle general community or community-member disputes that may be addressed through community processes, nor does it serve as an appeal venue for community-made policies and decisions. While we are happy to assist community members in need of help, many times that help will consist of assisting the person to find the right community venue to address their concern.

Flowchart detailing the investigation workflow when evaluating a request for an Office action

Regular workflows include:

  • Evaluation and reporting:
    • General Trust and Safety inquiries and reports of abuse can be submitted through: ca(_AT_)wikimedia.org, in line with the Office actions policy.
    • Threats of imminent physical harm can be submitted to: emergency(_AT_)wikimedia.org, according to the Threats of harm protocol.
    • Assessment of child protection concerns including reports of child pornography filed through: legal-reports@wikimedia.org, as per Child protection.
  • Global and Event bans: Requests, inquiries, investigations and maintenance. (See also log of global bans by Trust and Safety.)
  • AffCom support: Assist the Affiliations Committee as appropriate in relation to Trust and Safety matters
  • Identification and access rights for community: see access to nonpublic personal data noticeboard
  • Trust and Safety database management: mandatory and best-practice record-keeping
  • Trust and Safety Disinformation: The Trust and Safety Disinformation team focuses on supporting communities in identifying and countering disinformation campaigns in line with the Disinformation Attribution model, on Wikimedia Foundation platforms.Activities include investigating reports of disinformation activity on-wiki, increasing awareness of the various forms of disinformation by sharing information, tactics, and resources among volunteers, and working with teams across the Foundation to ensure community safety and project integrity.

Direct community support

In close collaboration with Product and other parts of the Legal department, the team lead several trust engineering initiatives.

Other regular workflows include:

Internal support

We provide guidance, advice and support to Foundation staff, the Board, and committees. We assist staff routinely with community and content-related concerns, including processing DMCA takedown and notification requirements and, where necessary, responding to search warrants and legally valid subpoenas. We manage requests for advanced user rights required for staff members to do their work by assessing needs and liaising with the stewards.

Regular workflows include:

  • Supporting Executives: the Executive Director, the Executive Office, Jimmy Wales.
  • Liaison work: to the cross-wiki Ombuds Commission, the Code of Conduct Committee, and other Wikimedia Foundation teams.
  • Supporting the staff: Advanced privileges and user rights for staff.
  • Legal support: DMCA takedown and notification requirements, search warrant and subpoena compliance, and comparable workflows

Office actions workflow

Flowchart detailing how to report a Wikimedia-related incident
More information: Office actions

Part of the Trust and Safety team's responsibility within the Wikimedia Foundation is to implement office actions. These articles are rare, and performed pursuant to the Terms of Use, typically as a last resort. Office actions are used to handle privacy violations, child protection, copyright infringement, systematic harassment, and other violations of the Terms of Use that cannot be handled through community-governed processes.

The process leading up to an office action varies considerably based on the action and the circumstances surrounding it. The strongest actions in common use are those taken against users of the websites, typically in the form of global or event bans. These actions are the result of user conduct investigations undertaken by Trust and Safety Specialists, which go through a rigorous review cycle as documented in the flowchart to the right.

Other office actions can include deletions of illegal material. This typically consists of sensitive images of minors which violate the laws of the United States. Trust and Safety also performs deletions to satisfy the Wikimedia Foundation's DMCA Policy, an archive of which is maintained on Foundation wiki.


The case review committee enables directly involved community members to request review of a community committee of Trust and Safety behavioral investigation outcomes. This committee is equipped to review certain office actions on appeal from individuals directly involved in the case (as the requesting or sanctioned party). For more information, see Office actions#Appeals.

See also