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How to Build a Safe Community Online

Posted By Big Bullshit Biden     June 6, 2021    

Whether a person joins an online community to proclaim support for a particular social or political cause, interact with brands, or generally connect with like-minded people who might share similar ideologies, passions, and hobbies, it's important that the forum is an enjoyable and safe space.

Discussions on some of the most popular social media forums tend to quickly run tense, at times. While every member within the community must excise their right to freedom of speech, making members feel like they’re a crucial part of the community and play a vital role in regulating the safety and positive tone of the virtual space, often encourages members to do everything they can to keep it safe and welcoming.

Let's look at some internal and external safety issues and key concerns that hinder managing or building safe online communities.

But First, What Is An Online Community Anyway?

The idea of a forum or community solely based on online platforms has garnered a significant amount of attention over the last decade. It enables business owners to provide a seamless customer experience and reap myriad benefits on an increased customer engagement and lead conversion over time.

In a nutshell, the community here refers to a group of individuals who share common goals, viewpoints, and interests. Communities typically involve the building of social connections and bonds on branded community platforms or social media platforms.

The purpose of online communities revolves around enabling a congregation of members who can receive support, ask questions, make social connections, and discuss topics surrounding the main idea of the forum.

Building Safe Online Communities: Key Things To Remember 

#1 Cyber Security

One of the first steps of building a safe online community is securing the site and optimizing the protection of the community members from phishing scams and hackers. Experts suggest implementing security certificates and password strength indicators while including basic guidelines for characters and length of passwords can be extremely helpful. This is because sometimes, just enabling users to see how strong or weak their password is often helps them shield their credentials from potential hackers.

#2 Inactive User Accounts

Just like a vehicle being parked at a particular place for too long might attract thieves who would attempt to use it to their advantage by taking it. When hackers notice inactive user accounts, they immediately try to hack them as hacking such accounts is relatively easier. Plus, the hacker can control the account indefinitely as long as no user complains.

Implements systems that identify and delete inactive accounts after a certain period after repeatedly alerting community members in advance that such inactive accounts will ultimately be deleted if the user doesn’t become active again. 

#3 Avoid Link Exchanges 

Fake links aren’t only incredibly easy to produce but also relatively easier to convince unsuspecting users who are most likely to click on them. Phishers, hackers, and spammers usually send a fake link that can potentially launch numerous spyware tools or viruses that affects not only their personal information or accounts but also their devices.

The best practice to prevent attacks is to encourage users to avoid sending clickable hyperlinks, especially in private chats. Either send important links as plain texts or try sharing them in public spaces. While this might not help prevent a hundred percent bad link attacks, it can significantly cause a dip in their presence or magnitude. Plus, several tools can be implemented to scan links before its shared so that potential spam can be flagged. 

#4 Fix Website Issues Promptly

Whether your site is performing effortlessly or creating subtle issues, it's always a wise idea to test it frequently for security problems. In instances where a community site has issues that go unresolved for long periods, it can lead to increased vulnerabilities resulted from cracks in your site.

An efficient way to implement this is to perform site penetration tests and regularly assessing any potential risks, known exploits in script or code, and other preventive measures that will help save time, frustration and mitigate various other risks.

#5 Limited Access Of Public Connections

While limiting public connection access may be inconvenient for many users, not allowing access to the online community over unencrypted or public connections is beneficial. Phishers and hackers often use public connections, such as those found in restaurants, libraries, and malls, to get hold of personal information or financial data.

 We understand that no one, in particular, wants to bar any users from connecting to the community or remain active; however, limiting public access connections is crucial to ensure the community stays safer in the long run.

 #6 Be Clear About When, Where, And How User’s Content Might Be Used

Whether your online community is to garner information about customer trends and feedback or you're looking to get new and innovative ideas that fulfill the market's gap when the new products or services are launched, always ensure that the members are well-aware of exactly how their personal data is going to be used.

Ideally, this information should appear during the sign-up process of the community group and be easy to find via the about section or global footer of the site.

 #7 Ensure that the platform welcomes diverse opinions or ideas with censor-ship complications

There are already numerous social networking sites and forums that people use to share videos and interact with their friends, families, and colleagues. Recently, you might have noticed how people were generally silenced via censorship, especially on some of the most popular social media platforms, when they raised their voice against certain political or social taboos and sensitive yet crucial topics such as rights of marginalized minorities and more.

Censorship, in the least, takes away the fundamental purpose of such online gatherings, as when people cannot exercise free speech on an online social media marketing platform, it prevents the establishment of meaningful connections.

If you’re tired of social media platforms banning your content, switch to a viable Facebook alternative, known as Nitrotext. The censor-ship free platform is managed by a renowned online marketing company based in Lincoln, ME. It offers revolutionary online advertising platforms and social media marketing solutions to community managers and business owners looking to leverage the power of social media for good across the globe.

 

Reach out to us to learn more about our instant messaging application or avail our social media management services online.

How to Build a Safe Community Online

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