Trust Lab, a company that provides analytics to platforms and regulators to guard against harmful content, today announced it has raised $15 million in a Series A funding round led by US Venture Partners and Foundation Capital.
Using the platform, companies and public organizations can detect, track and monitor harmful content and potential bad actors on the Internet. The company uses artificial intelligence to categorize information by providing insights from the open web into current high-risk trends.
The principle behind this is that you can’t manage what you can’t measure, Trust Lab co-founder and CEO Tom Siegel said in an interview with SiliconANGLE.
Siegel, along with Benji Loney, who arrived via TikTok, Reddit and YouTube, and Shankar Ponnekanki founded Trust Lab in 2020 with the aim of helping big tech companies, academics and regulators identify potential harms and prevent them. Siegel founded the Trust and Safety team at Google LLC and expanded it from when the company only offered a search product.
For private companies hosting user-generated content or for users who can openly register on their systems, Trust Lab helps them moderate and mitigate the potential harms that can result. This is done through monitoring and moderation mechanisms by assessing the potential risks and damages that occur on the platform.
We’re specifically assessing whether content or users pose potential harm to a platform or customer, and then provide them with signals we find from the open web to help them make that decision, Siegel explained.
The platform doesn’t say outright whether something is good or bad. It is designed to give moderation staff the information they need to make that decision themselves by increasing their intelligence. Examples could also be the use of heuristics and artificial intelligence to find reliable sources of information on the open web or discover information about a particular trend.
Trust Lab’s current clients include the European Commission, venture capital firm In-Q-Tel and a number of social media companies, messaging platforms and marketplaces.
The European Commission, which is the independent executive arm of the European Union, recently signed an agreement with the Trust Lab to evaluate the amplification of violent content and terrorism on social media. The project, which began in November, was to run for 40 weeks and measure extreme social media violence and its proliferation in eight European markets across platforms including Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. Tracking crosses multiple languages, including those not geographically common to Europe such as Arabic and Russian.
The project goes beyond simple monitoring to include insights into users and also to check whether platforms actually removed harmful content when it was reported.
Trust Lab also helps companies comply with regional laws and regulations, such as the Digital Services Act in Europe, a law intended to require social media platforms to address concerns about illegal content, and California content security laws involving minor children. places around the world, it is increasingly difficult for all platforms to ensure compliance with all these laws which are sometimes intertwined in conflict with each other, Siegel said.
Moderating content and monitoring potentially harmful user behavior is also increasingly difficult due to the number of existing platforms and the cross-platform movement. By having a monitoring solution that aggregates information from the open web that provides intelligence across multiple platforms, Siegel said it gives customers and regulators a broader idea of what they might be dealing with and better information to moderate content on your platform or make political decisions.
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