Information privacy: Moderation of personal data

  • 22 March 2018
  • 0 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +1
It will happen from time to time that an unexperienced user shares personal data on your community. In accordance with data protection laws, it is very important that all information is being removed which can be considered the personal data of an individual. It is your task as a moderator to prevent that this information is being shared in public. This includes:
  • First and last name
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Address
  • Serial number, order number, account number, etc.
So basically every piece of information that offers the possibility to identify an individual identity.

Best practices in removing data from a post

Usually it is enough to remove the information from a post by editing it. You should leave a note behind that you have edited the post:

While removing data, you should always try to preserve the context of a post. In the case of the example above:

The sentence "My e-mail address is" is not necessary to understand the issue / question which the user is sharing. So it can be removed completely.

The sentence "I also didn't get a notification text message on my cell phone (number: +1 123 456 789)" however could be relevant for troubleshooting the problem. So here you might only want to remove the phone number, and leave the rest.

Should the personal data be in the middle of a sentence, e.g. "I did not receive an email to after registration", then you could also decide to replace the removed information with your note: I did not receive an email to (personal data removed) after registration.

Personal data in attachments

Personal information in e.g. screenshots cannot be picked up automatically by webcrawlers/spiders etc. (so systems which automatically scan the internet for such data in order to abuse it). Nevertheless you should remove this information, as it can be used against the will of the user.

Often attachments are an important part of a post, so simply deleting them could have a negative impact on the whole topic. I sometimes used to download, edit, and then reupload the attachment. If you have the time to do this as well, your users will appreciate your help. 🙂

Should you have questions about certain cases / scenarios, just let us know in the comments! Also feel free to share your processes around this!

0 replies

Be the first to reply!