With the explosive growth of the internet and, specifically, user-generated content and companies’ social media presence, social defence is growing by the day. There are an estimated 250,000 to 350,000 people working as social media monitors globally and close to one million people working in online security and privacy, according to Hemanshu Nigam, former chief security officer of MySpace and founder of Los Angeles-based online safety consultancy SSP Blue. Those numbers, he said, are conservative estimates and are changing all the time.
So, who are these defenders?
“[It] is really the natural evolution of the online moderator [who] traditionally removed the ‘bad stuff’ and acted as part editor, part host in a community,” said Emma Monks, head of moderation, trust and security at Leeds, UK-based Crisp Thinking, a leading social risk defence firm. “Quite often it was a hobby job. They were volunteer members of the community and had a lot of autonomy in the decision making on what sort of content remained on display or was removed.”