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Yubo’s 2023 Transparency Report Demonstrates the Company’s Focus on Openness and User Safety

by Anamta bnn
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In the wide-ranging corporate communications arena, a company’s timely reports typically highlight financial performance, key initiatives, and relevant corporate developments. However, live social discovery app Yubo’s Transparency Report has a much different focus.

Published in October 2023, the company’s newest Transparency Report covers January through June 2023. The report’s carefully curated sections detailed Yubo’s purpose and core values. Yubo also highlighted its integrated efforts to provide users with a safe online experience.

Yubo’s Purpose and Core Values

Established in 2015, Paris-based Yubo is one of the world’s major social media platforms. This live social discovery app invites its Generation Z users to broaden their social circles by meeting same-aged friends from across the globe.

Today, Yubo counts users in over 140 countries, and the app has amassed over 75 million signups since its inception. Yubo’s talented employees are collectively committed to providing the Yubo community with an enjoyable online space in which teens and young adults can feel empowered and safe.

Yubo’s Overarching Purpose

Yubo offers multiple opportunities for positive user interactions. The platform invites users to simply be themselves, with “friends” and “followers” replaced by authentic connections. Whether in private chats or larger group livestreams, Yubo users are always encouraged to socialize and simply have fun.

Yubo’s Core Values

The Yubo Transparency Report also reaffirms the company’s three core values. These values are the cornerstone of the firm’s business activities and user offerings.

First, Yubo stresses openness with fellow users. Everyone is welcome, and Yubo encourages members to respect others’ similarities and differences. The platform’s Community Guidelines provide a structure in which users can create authentic relationships.

From the top down, the Yubo team focuses on user safety. The company’s “Safety by Design” approach, industry-first digital tools, and a highly skilled safety team are the foundation of the Yubo Safety Program. The company’s Independent Safety Board is joined by governments, NGOs, and law enforcement partners ─ all of whom are united in this purpose.

As a European business, Yubo’s features, products, and processes are created with “privacy by design” principles. Yubo complies with the GDPR and other applicable privacy laws. The company only gathers the necessary data to enable the app’s function. Yubo does not sell users’ data under any circumstances.

Recent Yubo News Developments

From late-2022 to mid-2023, Yubo updated relevant policies and fine-tuned the app’s innovative moderation practices. The company also partnered with safety-focused organizations to launch safety-related initiatives.

Improved User Reporting Capabilities

During 2022’s second half, Yubo updated user reporting capabilities, enabling users to add up to four media files to each report. Users were also required to detail the reason for the report. Together, these additions enhanced Yubo Safety Specialists’ ability to take appropriate action on the user reports.

User Warning Introduction

Yubo strongly believes that proactive education is key to convincing users not to continue undesirable online posting practices. Toward this end, Yubo published user warnings to tell users about behavior or content that could violate the Yubo Community Guidelines.

Users were also warned about the outcomes of repeating a prohibited behavior. Although Yubo noted that the new educational tools have increased user compliance, the user warnings do not replace sanctions and/or content removal when serious rule violations occur.

AFNOR Standards Development

In March 2023, Yubo partnered with French standardization company AFNOR. Together, the firms created the “AFNOR-Spec” standard to protect minors on social media apps. Social media platforms, NGOs, and regulators have come together to compile a toolkit of industry best practices. The finished “AFNOR-Spec” should go live by the end of 2023.

GIFCT Membership and Hate/Extremism Policy Development

As part of Yubo’s strong user safety commitment, the company joined the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (or GIFCT) in June 2023. Yubo also refined its safety policies to prevent discrimination and hate, potential signals for extremist behavior.

Yubo also partners with counterterrorism experts such as Tech Against Terrorism. This organization’s leadership ensures that Yubo remains abreast of updated trends and data regarding online extremist behavior.

Yubo’s Safety Infrastructure: Two Key Components

The Yubo user safety framework integrates two foundational components. Together, the Safety by Design approach and Community Guidelines govern the platform’s integrated safety-focused operations.

The Safety by Design Approach

Yubo’s “Safety by Design” approach anchors the platform’s trust and safety infrastructure. First, Yubo meets its defined legal obligations. The platform rapidly responds to user inquiries and streamlines user reporting functions.

Yubo also educates users on the consequences of actions that violate the platform’s Terms of Service or Community Guidelines. The platform detects these actions via proprietary algorithms and other technology tools. Yubo believes that by educating and empowering users, they will be more responsible for their online behaviors.

The Yubo Community Guidelines

Yubo’s Community Guidelines detail the app’s acceptable behavior and content types. The Guidelines also discuss Yubo’s values, respect for others’ opinions and well-being, and respect for the law.

Users are expected to follow the Community Guidelines in all platform interactions. If a user’s reported behavior violates the Guidelines, a Yubo Safety Specialist will take immediate action.

Yubo’s Trust and Safety Initiative

Yubo’s strong online user safety focus likely spurred its Trust and Safety Program. Eight specialty teams and nine specific areas of focus combine to form Yubo’s safety strategy.

8 Trust and Safety Teams

  • Abusive Behavior Response Team
  • High Risk and Emergency Response Team
  • Integrity Team
  • Law Enforcement Team
  • Product Safety Team
  • Safety Engineering Team
  • Safety Policy Team
  • Support Team

9 Trust and Safety Components

  • Identity and Age Verification
  • Age Gating Framework
  • Issue Resolution Policies
  • Technological Tools
  • Human Moderator Actions
  • Detection and Moderation Accuracy
  • Moderator Responses
  • Grooming/Child Enticement Detection
  • User Empowerment

Yubo’s User Safety Advocacy

Yubo continues its overarching focus on user safety. Toward that end, the company has established three key collaborative entities.

Key Partners and Stakeholders

Since its 2015 inception, Yubo has partnered with government agencies along with non-governmental organizations (or NGOs) and charities. Other stakeholders may also be involved.

Yubo’s partners include NCMEC, e-Enfance, Thorn, and two members of the INHOPE Network. Yubo also actively participates in Tech Coalition and ICT Coalition efforts to promote safe online user experiences. Finally, Yubo works with local jurisdiction partners to conduct in-app safety awareness programs, highlighting topics such as mental health and bullying.

The Yubo Safety Board

Yubo’s respected Safety Board includes renowned global digital safety experts. They provide ongoing user safety guidance and assist Yubo in resolving specific issues.

Annie Mullins OBE has served as Yubo’s Chief Safety Advisor since 2016. With over 15 years of experience in industry best practices development, she helps Yubo in safety strategy development. Annie Mullins OBE also assists Yubo in cultivating relationships with industry groups, governments, and NGOs.

The Yubo Safety Hub

Yubo’s multi-component Safety Hub provides multiple digital safety resources. Users and their parents can obtain guidance on Yubo safety policies and tools while viewing advice on specific topics. An audience-specific guide is available for young people. Parents, educators, and caretakers can view another guide. A third guide is geared to law enforcement authorities.

Impactful Law Enforcement Collaborations

Yubo continues to cultivate strong law enforcement relationships along with connections to relevant global organizations. Yubo’s law enforcement agency collaborations are a logical component of the company’s user safety strategy.

Through these efforts, Yubo can increase its law enforcement outreach visibility and effectiveness.

In addition, Yubo complies with two legal mandates. First, Yubo offers users an easy reporting mechanism, enabling them to report anything suspicious or illegal on the platform. In addition, Yubo proactively reports illegal activities and cooperates with relevant authorities during investigations.

To illustrate, during 2023’s first half, Yubo made proactive reports to law enforcement entities in 56 countries. Yubo noted an increase in these reports due to three factors: (1) stronger user safety policies (2) better proactive detection systems and (3) more refined reporting criteria.

Dedicated Teams’ Activities

Yubo’s Safety Team prioritizes user reports based on each one’s risks and severity. A Safety Specialist strives to respond to all livestream-based reports in less than two minutes. High-risk profile reports ideally receive a response within 30 minutes.

The Law Enforcement Team handles all law enforcement requests within an applicable legal framework and established process. The Team handles 99% of law enforcement requests in less than 24 hours.

Types of Cases Reported

From January through June 2023, Yubo reported the following types of cases to two law enforcement authorities. PHAROS, the France-based police entity for illegal online content, received 3,288 reports. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (or NCMEC) received 1,375 reports.

  • Blackmailing
  • Child Sexual Abuse Materials and Exploitation
  • Drug Dealing
  • Extremist Behavior
  • Grooming
  • Scamming
  • Terrorist Content

Emergency Reporting to Law Enforcement

Yubo immediately reports all emergency situations to the appropriate law enforcement authorities. Emergency cases are defined as those that present a potential (or actual) threat to life. These include self-harm, suspected suicidal intentions, a threat of shooting or violence, extremist behavior, or terrorism.

For perspective, from January through June 2023, Yubo reported 76 emergency cases per month. For United States cases, Yubo issued 30 reports to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (or FBI) during the period.

Snapshot of Key Yubo Metrics

Yubo’s frequently updated metrics offer insights into the app’s safety-related initiatives. Taken together, the metrics detail Yubo’s progress toward universal user safety.

Content and User Moderation

Yubo’s content moderation operations help to enforce the company’s user safety policies. Proactive detection technology, user reports, and content moderators play key roles in this effort.

Content Removals

During 2023’s first half, the Yubo Safety Team removed more than 872,400 content pieces that were in violation of Yubo’s Terms of Service or Community Guidelines. Almost all of this content was visual in nature. Proactive detection paved the way for nearly all of the content removals.

Temporary Suspensions

From January through June 2023, Yubo issued 101,500 temporary suspensions. This practice temporarily restricts a user from accessing the platform when they breach the Terms of Service or Community Guidelines. Suspensions range from 20 minutes to one month based on the violation’s severity.

Permanent Bans (at the Device Level)

From January through June 2023, Yubo issued 71,400 permanent bans at the device level. Permanent bans occur after severe violations. If the behavior or content is also illegal, the Yubo Safety Team reports the issue to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.

For reference, Yubo investigated 5,730 appeals against permanent bans during the period. After a Safety Team review, 4.6% of user accounts were reinstated.

Yubo’s Transparency Report Reinforces the Company’s User Safety Commitment

As Yubo’s newest Transparency Report shows, the company’s leaders remain dedicated to ensuring a safe online user experience. Yubo’s safety strategy components, the Yubo Safety Board’s guidance, and law enforcement collaborations provide a firm foundation for this worthwhile endeavor.