Social media is anything but a guaranteed safe space for users. While it is designed to be a place where you can freely share your life, thoughts, feelings and vulnerabilities, doing so also comes with the risk of unwanted commentary, feedback and harassment—all things that threaten our mental health. And, for some creators of color, finding peace on the Internet during a time of increased racial unrest in America can feel like an impossible task.
Pinterest, a site widely known by users as being a safe zone for creators to house and share inspirational ideas and advice, has announced a new content policy that was intentionally crafted to make the platform an even more positive and inspiring place. Pinterest’s newly launched “Creator Code” is a mandatory set of guidelines for the site’s 450 million users with a heightened focus on building a safe online community centered around compassion and inclusion.
“We’ve been building Pinterest for 11 years, and ever since our users routinely tell us that Pinterest is the ‘last positive corner of the internet’. In that time, we’ve also learned that you need to design positivity into online platforms as deliberately as much as you design negativity out,” said Evan Sharp, Co-Founder, Chief Design and Creative Officer, Pinterest in an official statement. “The Creator Code is a human-centric way for Creators to understand how to be successful on Pinterest while using their voice to keep Pinterest positive and inclusive.”
The code is centered around kindness, and creators will be required to agree to the code before publishing Story Pins to ensure they’re committed to keeping Pinterest positive and safe. Some of the specific rules in the code that creators must follow, include: “be aware of triggers”, “be kind”, “practice inclusion”, “do no harm” and “check facts”.
“This has been such an incredible evolution of the platform and this is that next step in the journey,” says Colleen Stauffer, Global Head of Consumer Marketing at Pinterest. “We’ve heard from all of our Pinners. They say the exact quote of we are ‘the last positive part of the internet’, and this code is really the way to maintain that and keep it that safe place.”
After listening to Pinterest users and creators, Stauffer says this code is essentially an answer they’ve been seeking. “They’re asking for guidance,” Stauffer adds. “They’re asking how to create that kind, positive content within their passion and their expertise, and that’s why we’re honestly so proud of this code and really that evolution. Many even said it’s a code to empower creators versus to reprimand them. And that’s the goal. And the same goes for Pinners, so they know how to comment [and] how to interact with these creators on the platform. So we’re really just helping shepherd along a little bit and then giving creators the space to be themselves.”
Part of that process is also the unveiling of a new set of moderation tools from Pinterest that will help users keep the platform safe and honor the code. Tools like positivity reminders, comment moderation and new spam prevention signals.
During a global pandemic when more and more people are seeking the space to create on their terms as a way of coping, protecting our mental health matters more than ever. Silvia Oviedo-López, Head of Creator and User Growth at Pinterest, shared with ESSENCE just how intentional Pinterest was about centering their new code around kindness.
“The one thing that’s really crystallizing in this conversation is what if we all like made it a point to lead with kindness as we go into the world,” says Oviedo-López. “I think creators on Pinterest have an amazing platform to do that at scale.”
“Our mission is to bring everyone the inspiration to create a life they love,” says Oviedo-López. “And there are two things that for me are key to bringing that inspiration to people worldwide. With the creator team, the ones behind that inspiration, the first one is we need to make everyone feel welcome…And then the other is feeling uplifted. And that is tied to the creator experience. How can we uplift creators and communities from many different backgrounds so that when anyone comes to Pinterest, they can find inspiration that’s truly relevant for themselves?”
As part of its focus on uplifting underrepresented communities, Pinterest also announced details on its first-ever Creator Fund, which focuses on uplifting creators from underrepresented communities by offering them training and creative strategy consulting, compensating them with budget for content creation and ad credits.