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Pinterest Creator Code: Keeping content positive and inspiring

Earlier this month, Pinterest debuted a ‘Creator Code’ to ensure that the inspiration-based platform continued to maintain a positive environment. The content policy sets out guidelines that must be agreed and adhered to by all of Pinterest’s creators. The specific rules that creators must follow include ‘be kind’, ‘check my facts’, ‘be aware of triggers’, ‘practice inclusion’, and ‘do no harm’.

Alongside the code, Pinterest also announced its first-ever ‘Creator Fund’ – a programme launched to provide financial and educational support to creators from underrepresented communities. The programme, introduced in just the US initially, has seen the platform partner with a diverse set of creators from the worlds of fashion, photography, food, and travel. These creators received training, creative strategy consulting, and a budget for content creation and ad credits.

New Digital Age spoke to Pinterest’s Zoe Pearson, Head of Growth for English Speaking Countries, to discuss the thinking behind the social media service’s latest developments.

Why did Pinterest decide to create the ‘Creator Code’? Was the decision made in response to the difficulties faced by other social platforms?  

We consider the launch of our Creator Code as the latest effort in our ongoing commitment to creating a positive and inclusive platform. Pinterest has always been a place for inspiration, where people go to plan their future and make decisions about what to buy and do next. Our top priority is to continue making Pinterest home to the most inclusive and actionable content, as well as the most inspiring people.

Creators on Pinterest build audiences of engaged followers by sharing, educating and inspiring people with their content. The Creator Code will help us continue to build an ecosystem that allows Creators to thrive and build an inspired audience. It also follows a range of recent initiatives introduced to help continue to build a positive online space, including the expansion of skin tone ranges, the launch of compassionate search, the banning of health misinformation and our AR Try On feature.

This new set of guidelines for Creators who publish content on Pinterest will help continue to create an inspiring and inclusive space for everyone, reminding Creators to be kind, check facts, be aware of triggers, practice inclusion and do no harm.

We’ve also introduced several new tools and features designed to provide a positive experience for Creators and Pinners, including a positivity reminder to Pinners if a comment is potentially offensive before posting. Additionally, we’ve implemented moderation tools using machine learning to detect and remove bad comments, new spam prevention signals and are allowing Creators to highlight up to three comments on published content.

Why now?

Pinterest has always been a place where people come to be inspired, and Creators are an essential part of our ecosystem. The idea for the Creator Code emerged in the middle of 2020 – a year marked with a global pandemic as well as political and societal movements around the world. Through Pinterest, Creators have the unique opportunity to support and inspire people on their journeys to find positive, inclusive and actionable ideas, during a time when they most need it.

The Creator Code was launched proactively and is intended to be empowering for Creators, rather than reactive and reprimanding.

Why was the call made to make adherence to the code mandatory?

We believe Pinterest can be home to the most inspiring content and the most inspiring people, and understand that we all have a part to play in ensuring this remains the case, and building a kinder internet. Creators on Pinterest will be required to agree to the Creator Code because they have a shared responsibility to keep Pinterest a safe and positive environment while supporting Pinners on their inspiration journey. Any Creators with a business account will see a notification in-app to sign the Code starting in May as well as an article on the Today tab within Story Pins and on the business site, and will be required to agree to the terms in order to continue posting and creating on the platform.

How will Pinterest enforce it?

We use both machine learning and human review to ensure Creator content adheres to our content policies. This, along with an algorithm that rewards positive content, guidelines and product updates such as blocking anti-vaccination content, prohibiting culturally insensitive ads, prohibiting political ads, and launching compassionate search for mental wellness, are pillars in making Pinterest an inspiring place online.

How does the introduction of the code benefit advertisers?

From awareness to conversion, recent Pinterest research shows six in 10 adults agreeing that they’re more likely to remember and think fondly of brands they encounter online when they themselves feel positive, and are more likely to trust and purchase from brands when they see them in a positive space.

We also know brands are keen to be aligned with positive and inclusive content. The Creator Code effectively helps us recognise any content that doesn’t meet the new guidelines and act accordingly, which in turn offers an extra element of reassurance to those currently advertising on our platform or thinking about it.

As a place to get inspiration and plan for life’s moments, Pinterest has always been a more positive place, with nearly nine in 10 weekly Pinners saying that Pinterest is an online oasis. Since the pandemic began, that’s only become more true. Searches and interest in “positivity” were up 65% over the past year and at their highest levels in Pinterest’s history.

Does the code provide advertisers with complete peace of mind around brand safety and suitability?

We have drawn a firm line on what is and is not acceptable on Pinterest, and our guidelines are designed to keep the platform positive for everyone – including brands. The Creator Code is the latest addition to our suite of proactive measures to create a positive, inclusive and healthy environment on the platform for brands, creators and Pinners alike. For example, we don’t allow harmful misinformation like the promotion of false cures for terminal illnesses and anti-vaccination advice. We’ve also limited search results for information about the COVID-19 pandemic to vetted sources like the World Health Organization and the NHS.

Measures like these build trust and confidence from our brand partners, indeed 92% of Pinterest advertisers rank Pinterest first on overall reputation among eight leading platforms [Advertiser Perceptions and Pinterest, Q1 2020].

How does this all tie in to the Creator Fund programme?

In addition to the Creator Code, we also launched our first-ever Creator Fund. Starting with the US and more countries to launch in the future, this is a new programme to elevate Creators from underrepresented communities through financial and educational support. Through partnering with Creators from diverse backgrounds, from the worlds of fashion, photography, food and travel, this is another example of how we are ensuring our platform is as diverse and inclusive as possible.

What’s next for Pinterest following the release of the code, the creator fund, and the recent ‘Pinterest Presents’ summit(s)? What more can advertisers expect?

We recently launched our first-ever business marketing campaign to reach a range of advertisers in six countries. The “Be their next” campaign highlights our unique audience mindset through inspirational use cases based on Pinterest insights across five different advertiser verticals, from auto and retail to financial services, tech/telco and beauty. With most people using the platform to decide what they will do or buy next, the heart of the campaign message is that “you can be their next”. So, not only can advertisers reach their audiences on Pinterest – they can be just the thing they were looking for, whether that’s their next try, their next save, or their next purchase.

We’re most excited about continuing to make Pinterest even more shoppable.  Since Pinterest launched, people have used it for shopping and we’ve been launching new features to make shopping even easier. Our overall vision is to make it easy to buy anything you see on Pinterest, or something just like it. In the past year, we’ve been consistently launching new features for Pinners and brands including Catalogs, personalised shopping recommendations, and increasing the number of shoppable Pins on the platform. The goal is to make it easy to go from inspiration to purchase, to seeing something on your screen, and then being able to buy it. Because people come to Pinterest looking for ideas for their life, brands have a unique opportunity to inspire consumers on the platform.