Strategies to boost trust - Three recent examples

Throughout our book – and especially in Chapter 6 – we emphasize how crucial it is for platform operators to build trust. Users must place trust in the platform’s value proposition, in the platform’s operations, and, last but not least, in the other users of the platform.

Platforms can deploy a wide range of strategies to consolidate – or regain – these various dimensions of trust. We describe here three recent examples of such strategies.

Uber and left turns

In October 2022, Uber announced a number of new features with the objective to enhance driver and rider safety. As Hawkins (2022) reports:

[Uber] in-app navigation system will now recommend fewer left turns in an effort to reduce crashes and make trips safer overall. The adjustments are expected to be “minor” with little impact on trip time, but the effect will hopefully make for a less stressful experience for drivers. (...) Uber is also doubling down on in-car surveillance as a way to get drivers and riders to behave properly. The company is expanding its audio recording pilot to more cities and is also introducing video recording as well. The theory is that most Uber drivers already use dashcams to record their trips as a way to capture any unsafe behavior. Now, Uber is offering them a cheaper and easier way by updating its driver app to include a video recording feature.

Twitch and harassment

Twitch announced in November 2021 that it would use machine learning to detect suspicious users. Jackson (2021) explains:

Twitch has had a rough year when it comes to moderating hate raids, streamer abuse, and other forms of disgusting behavior on the platform. At its worst time, the company admitted that some programs would take time to implement. The time has now come as Twitch has announced a new initiative that will attempt to deal with hate raids and streamer harassment. (...) The company announced that it will begin using machine learning to prevent individuals from circumventing Ban Evasions by creating new accounts. In a video posted to the Twitch Twitter account, Streamers and their Mods will be able to view specific potentially harmful chatters under the new Suspicious User Detection system. The streamer or the mods will then have the opportunity to monitor the chatter's account age, opt to withhold the comment, or let it pass.

Etsy and damaged items

In June 2022, Etsy decided that it would now refund buyers for missing, damaged, and inaccurate items. As Sato (2022) explains:

Etsy is launching a purchase protection program for shoppers and sellers, the company announced today. The program, which begins August 1st, will refund customers when an item arrives damaged, is missing, or doesn’t match the listing description. (...) Etsy says the purchase protection program is part of a broader effort “to improve customer support, increase trust signals across the user experience, and maintain the integrity of our marketplace as a destination for unique and special items.”