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Wattpad’s EU Digital Services Act (DSA) Information

This information applies to Wattpad’s users in the EU only.

 

Date of report: February 17, 2024 

1. Overview

Wattpad is a leading webnovel and storytelling community, where people from around the world, including the European Union (EU), come together to write and share original stories.

The DSA creates a uniform legal framework for providers of digital services to users in the EU. In order to create a safe, predictable, and trustworthy online environment, the DSA aims to create a single set of rules across the EU Member States governing the transparency and accountability obligations of online platforms.

Wattpad shares the European Commission’s commitment to addressing the issue of harmful online content, and we have been working to comply with all applicable provisions of the DSA. Within the framework of the DSA, Wattpad will continue to work on ways to provide a positive experience, building on our transparency measures to further our goal of creating a safe and positive space online.

 

2. Points of contact 

If you are a user, law enforcement agency or other authority located in the EU and have any questions about this DSA Information, please contact us (in English) at legal@wattpad.com or write to us at:

Legal Team

36 Wellington St. E., Suite 200

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

M5E 1C7

 

You may also send your DSA-related questions to our DSA representative, Data Rep at:

  • The Cube, Monahan Road, Cork, T12 H1XY, Republic of Ireland;
  • 107-111 Fleet Street, London, EC4A 2AB, United Kingdom; or
  • wattpad@datarep.com

Please do not email DataRep about non DSA-related matters but submit these through the Wattpad Help Center.

 

3. Terms and Conditions

Wattpad’s Terms of Service require users to abide by various policies regarding content on Wattpad. 

These include our Code of Conduct, Content Guidelines and Community Standards. These policies are clear and designed to be easy to understand by all our users. These policies are available in multiple languages (in an effort to represent a majority of our users).

a) Code of Conduct

Wattpad is a creative and global community for its users to enjoy. Its Code of Conduct sets out clear values around what is expected from users and what kinds of behaviour will not be tolerated.

b) Content Guidelines

At Wattpad, our goal is to create a safe and comfortable space for everyone to discover and create original stories. In order to create an inclusive and respectful space, our Content Guidelines outline the kinds of content you can or cannot post and requires that all creators rate their stories as either “Mature” or “For Everyone” according to the guidelines provided.

c) Community Standards

This document outlines the standards that all Wattpad community members must follow. 

d) Moderation

Wattpad has a moderation team of specialised Trust & Safety agents who are responsible for reviewing and actioning reported content and conduct. If our software or our users report content or conduct to Wattpad, our agents review reports and either mark the content as acceptable, mark it as mature, or remove it from the platform. Details about our Image Moderation process can be found in this Help Centre article. 

Content and conduct that meet our triage requirements are ingested into Zendesk and reviewed before the appropriate action is taken. Sometimes we will request more information to ensure we take the proper action after confirming the violation. If content or conduct violates Wattpad’s Content Guidelines, Code of Conduct, Community Standards or Terms of Service, it will be removed by our moderation team using our internal moderation tools.

Wattpad may also remove accounts that meet our account closure requirements, which are dependent on the nature, severity and frequency of a user's violation(s). 

 

4. Notice and Action

a) Reporting:

On Wattpad, writers express themselves through stories and are empowered to rate their works in accordance with the guidelines provided. For more information, please see our Content Guidelines

 

If any user comes across any content or conduct that violates our guidelines, they can let us know by reporting it. See here for how to do that.

 

b) Decision-Making:

Wattpad uses a combination of technology and a world-class Trust & Safety team to help find and remove content violations. 

Wattpad’s moderators adhere to the Content Guidelines, Code of Conduct, Community Standards, Terms of Service and Canadian Law to make decisions about content and conduct that are subject to removal. These policies govern Wattpad, and moderators have access to an Internal Content Guidelines document that further supports their decision making processes. Policy and guideline documents are pivotal in the governance of Wattpad to maintain consistency and platform safety. 

Wattpad’s moderators assess repeated user behaviour against policies to determine whether accounts should remain on Wattpad. Users may be suspended when they have violated Wattpad’s Code of Conduct, Terms of Service, Community Standards, Content Guidelines or applicable law. 

 

c) Reporting Content to the Authorities

Wattpad adheres to Canadian Law that governs ISP’s reporting requirements. In addition, where Wattpad becomes aware of information giving rise to a suspicion that a criminal offence involving a threat to a person’s life or safety has taken place, or may take place imminently, Wattpad reports such information to users’ local law enforcement where it deems it necessary to do so. 

d) Resources:

Education is a critical intervention to enhance safety on any online platform. Wattpad launched the Wattpad Safety Portal in 2019 with the intention of helping youth and their parents/guardians learn about how to stay safe online with universal digital literacy information. Wattpad’s Safety Portal includes articles on subjects like cyberbullying and harassment, making safe connections, and sharing personal information online. 

e) Appeals

If the impacted user or reporter believes we've mistakenly taken action on their content or account or made a mistake in processing their report, they can appeal Wattpad’s decision by following the process detailed below. An appeal can be made for six months after the date on which the user is notified of the decision taken by Wattpad. 

 

For EU users to submit an appeal:

  1. Click on the Virtual Helper icon in the bottom left corner of the Help Centre
  2. Report ‘missing story’ and select the ‘No, I didn’t receive a private message’ option, followed by the ‘The whole story or story part is missing’ option. 
  3. Provide the username, email and location when prompted.  
  4. A request will be opened for Wattpad’s review.

 

Please note that any reference to Wattpad’s decisions being final and irreversible in other articles does not apply to moderation action under the DSA. Impacted users in the EU have the ability to appeal Wattpad’s decisions as outlined above.

Wattpad will work with out-of-court dispute settlement bodies to the extent required by law. Users who are dissatisfied with the result of their appeal to Wattpad should contact the company if they wish to engage an out-of-court dispute settlement mechanism. 

 

5. Recommender system 

 

Wattpad’s Recommender and Ranking Systems encompass the following:

 

a) Non-personalized recommender systems:

 

On home page:

Within the Home section, the recommender system aims to identify popular, similar, trending stories that users may find engaging. They achieve this by analyzing engagement parameters such as:

  • total reading minutes
  • story length
  • daily readership
  • library additions
  • activity or engagement spikes

Additionally, the algorithm takes into account story attributes such as category, genres, and writer-specified tags.

 

On story details page:

When presented on a story details page, the recommender system aims to discover stories similar to the base story. To achieve this, it examines parameters like:

  • story genre and tag details tag vectors
  • interaction vectors (data tracking which other stories users read or interacted with in relation to the base story)
  • story’s status (ongoing/completed, paid/free)

b) Personalised recommender systems:

There are multiple recommender systems working together to drive user engagement and personalise based on users’ reading history & action history. Some recommendation algorithms have a single objective while others have multiple.

 

These diverse recommender systems leverage a broad spectrum of parameters, including:

  • User’s reading history, examining stories started, ongoing, or completed.
  • User reading patterns, considering factors like dates of story engagement, percentage completion per story daily/weekly, etc.
  • User preferences inferred from their reading history or onboarded tags, such as favorite genres or preferred writers based on follows.
  • Story Interaction vectors to determine the next recommended read.
  • User’s search history and utilized search terms.
  • Real-time browsing patterns and user actions.
  • Story attributes like genre, reading time, user engagement metrics (number of readers, library adds), story success (badges or ranks), and whether it’s a Wattpad Original.

 

6. Online protection of minors 

 

Wattpad does not present ads to users in the EU based on profiling as defined in Article 4, point (4), of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 using personal data of the recipient of the service when it is aware with reasonable certainty that the recipient of the service is a minor.

 

7. Information on Average Monthly Active Recipients in the EU

Pursuant to Article 24(2) of the DSA, Wattpad provides the following information on the average monthly active recipients of its online platform in the EU.

For the six month period ending on 31 January 2024, we have assessed the average monthly active recipients of our online platform in the EU to be under 7 million.

This information has been prepared for Article 24(2) of the DSA. This information may differ from user metrics reported in other contexts and should not be used for any other purposes.

Wattpad will continue to monitor its online platform in the EU and will continue to publish updated information on the average monthly active recipients in accordance with Article 24(2) of the DSA.

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