March 03, 2022 T&S Newsletter

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T&S Early Warning News

Get ahead of new stories that are impacting the T&S industry

As social media giants fail to stop misinformation, can citizens save the day?

Crikey | Mar 03, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

The invasion of Ukraine has triggered an evolution in so-called fact-checking. Once a journalistic exercise in pointing out political lies, it is now a whole online movement, focused on discrediting and removing all misinformation from the internet -- a mammoth task.

As misinformation about the invasion floods social media accounts, everyone from international papers and citizen journalists have joined the fight. But does it work?

The social media giants have given a huge platform to misinformation in recent years. Twitter's record on allowing misinformation to be published is particularly bad. Its "trust and safety" team usually only flags high-profile examples of misinformation (like some of Donald Trump’s tweets), but it has limited resources dedicated to the more insidious forms of mistruths which lurk in the less exposed corners of the platform. They announced a fact-check tool called Birdwatch last year, which would allow users to flag and discredit misinformation. But it's currently only available in the US, and reports suggest it hasn't gained any traction.

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U.S. states probing TikTok's effects on young people

Reuters | Mar 03, 2022

Company Listed: TikTok

March 2 (Reuters) - Eight states, including California and Massachusetts, announced on Wednesday that they had launched a bipartisan, nationwide probe of TikTok, focusing on whether the popular video-sharing app causes physical or mental health harm to young people.

The probe will also look at what the company knew about its role in perpetuating those harms.

"The investigation focuses, among other things, on the methods and techniques utilized by TikTok to boost young user engagement, including increasing the duration of time spent on the platform and frequency of engagement with the platform," Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey's office said in a statement.

TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, said in a statement that it "focused on the safety of younger users" and limits features by age.

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Spotify closes its office in Russia in response to attack on Ukraine

Reuters | Mar 03, 2022

Company Listed: Spotify, Meta Facebook, Google

Spotify (SPOT.N) said on Wednesday it has closed its office in Russia indefinitely in response to what the audio streaming platform described as Moscow's "unprovoked attack on Ukraine."

Since July 2021, Russian legislation signed by President Vladimir Putin has obliged foreign social media companies with more than 500,000 daily users to open local offices or be subject to restrictions as severe as outright bans.

Ahead of the March deadline, only a few companies, including Spotify, had complied.

Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine last week, which Moscow calls a “special operation,” Western governments have urged companies to push back on Putin in any way possible.

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Woman Shares 'Scary' Texts From Dating App 'Psycho' in Viral Video

NewsWeek | Mar 03, 2022

Company Listed: TikTok

One woman claimed in a now-viral video that she received a barrage of unsettling texts from a "psycho" she met online after canceling their first date.

The video was posted to TikTok on Monday by Alyssa Rose (@xolyssarosexo), who wrote: "PSA...Be careful of strangers and listen to your gut!!!" So far, the post has received more than 4 million views and thousands of comments from viewers who said that the man's messages were "scary."

Additionally, many women commented on the video to say that they've experienced the same behavior from men they've met online.

"Met him on a dating app and texted for five days," read the text overlay at the beginning of Rose's video. "Wasn't feeling well and canceled...this is what happened."

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Twitter Transparency Report Discloses Impact on Member Accounts

SecrhEngine Journal | Mar 03, 2022

Company Listed: Twitter

Twitter's transparency report shows that their proactive approach to moderation is responsible for vast majority of account suspensions

Twitter issued it’s six-month Transparency Report revealing what countries are making the most information requests, Twitter revealed facts about policing members for rule violations and a surprising trend in accounts that violate the rules.

One of the goals that Twitter stated was to protect the Open Internet.

The Open Internet is a reference to Twitter’s position against burdensome regulation from governments around the world. These regulations can seek to put limits on what kinds of information could be published on Twitter.

The idea of the Open Internet thus is one of a global standard of free speech, a right to privacy and fairness.

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Connecticut joins nationwide probe into TikTok’s risk to children

Stamford Advocate | Mar 02, 2022

Company Listed: TikTok

Attorney General William Tong announced Wednesday Connecticut is joining other states in a nationwide investigation into TikTok to see if the popular social media application violated consumer protection laws that put the public at risk.

Tong and other officials allege the application promotes its platform to children and young adults “while use is associated with physical and mental health harms,” he said in a statement.

“I have had multiple conversations with TikTok leaders where I have made it clear that the reckless viral challenges that proliferate on their platform are dangerous and need to stop,” Tong said.

Tong said he appreciates that the platform has “made efforts to remove some of the harmful content from their site, but whatever they have been doing just is not enough to protect our kids.”

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Australian social media probe sees big gap in Meta's application of community standards

ZDNet | Mar 03, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media, Meta

Liberal MP Lucy Wicks, chair of Australia's social media and online safety parliamentary committee, on Wednesday afternoon criticised digital platforms for touting "very strong community standards policies" despite various instances of users not being protected by those standards.

"My concern is that I see very strong community standard policies, or hateful content policies or 'insert name of keep the community safe' policies from various platforms. I almost can't fault them but I find a very big gap with the application of them," she told Meta, who appeared before the committee for questioning.

Wicks' comments were made in light of 15 female Australian politicians, including herself, being the targets of abusive online comments that were left online for weeks and only taken down following law enforcement intervention.

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T&S Policies & Regulations

Regulatory news and policy decisions impacting the T&S ecosystem.

Compare and review T&S Policies for dozens of companies here

Facebook’s vaccine misinformation policy reduces anti-vax information

EurekaAlert | Mar 02, 2022

Company Listed: Facebook

Following years of growing vaccine opposition and several outbreaks of measles--a vaccine-preventable disease--Facebook established in 2019 its first policy to stop the spread of misinformation about vaccines. Researchers at the George Washington University wondered if the new policies actually worked to stop the spread of misinformation. Jiayan Gu, PhD student along with Lorien Abroms, Professor of Prevention and Community Health and their colleagues created a new paradigm for evaluation of the policy. The team found that Facebook’s policy did reduce people’s interactions with vaccine misinformation.

“There is a growing consensus that health misinformation on social media platforms presents a critical challenge for public health, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Abroms said. “While new policies by social media companies are an important first step to stopping the spread of misinformation, it is also necessary to rigorously evaluate these policies to ensure they are effective.”

Gu, Abroms and their team identified l72 anti- and pro-vaccine Facebook Pages and collected posts from these Pages six months before and after the policy went into effect. The study found that Facebook’s March 2019 vaccine misinformation policy moderately curtailed the number of “likes” of anti- vaccine content on Pages on its platform.

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Twitter Wants to Reinvent Itself, by Merging the Old With the New

NewYork Times | Mar 02, 2022

Company Listed: Twitter

In 2008, the handful of employees working for Twitter reached an impasse. Some were focused on preparing for a surge of new users to their social media platform. But one developer argued for another approach: Their platform, he said, shouldn’t be a platform at all.

Instead, Blaine Cook envisioned Twitter as a backbone for online chatter, one that would allow its users to freely exchange messages with people on other social media platforms instead of locking them into conversations among themselves. He hacked together a prototype to demonstrate his idea.

But the other Twitter employees dismissed it, and Mr. Cook was eventually pushed out of the start-up. Twitter remained a tightly controlled island on the internet and eventually drew in hundreds of millions of users.

Now, over a decade later, Twitter is reversing course. The company is pursuing the sort of decentralization Mr. Cook championed. It is funding an independent effort to build a so-called open protocol for social media. It is also weaving cryptocurrency into its app, and opening up to developers who want to build custom features for Twitter.

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Beijing wants to put a stop to excess push notifications and pop-up ads

Protocol | Mar 02, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

China’s Cyberspace Administration published a new set of rules on Wednesday targeting pop-up ads and push notifications. The draft, Provisions on the Administration of Internet Pop-up Information Push Services, addresses mobile apps, desktop software, websites and even operation systems, and asks any entity that pushes notifications to users to be responsible for its services. The regulations also give Beijing increased control over the spread of information in the digital era.

Within the new regulations, the strictest rules apply for notifications about news reporting. Any entity without the “internet news information service license” — a national license introduced in 2017 to gatekeep who can publish news online in China — is forbidden from sending out notifications about the news. Those with licenses are also limited to only citing news from a list of more than 1,300 mostly state-owned media outlets, in which some of China’s large, private-owned publications are excluded.

Chinese social media apps and news aggregator apps, from which Chinese people consume most of their news, are expected to be hit hard by the regulation. The provisions are “the obituary for [ByteDance],” Henry Gao, law professor at Singapore Management University, wrote on Twitter. One of ByteDance’s most popular domestic apps is Toutiao, a news-reader app that pushes notifications based on algorithms.

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T&S Good News

Some of the good news in the T&S industry that leaders want to know

Signal use spikes as Ukraine worries about Russians spying on them via Telegram

Bsuiness Today | Mar 03, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

One of the first things that happen, from a technology standpoint, during any crisis and conflict situation, is that social media and messaging apps become crucial areas of concern, susceptible to hacking and manipulation to spread panic and misinformation. As Russia keeps attacking Ukraine, messaging apps Telegram and Signal are fighting it out over security and warnings.

Both Telegram and Signal have been considered to be better alternatives to the Meta-owned messaging platform WhatsApp, particularly where security and privacy are concerned. However, in the current situation, Ukrainians are being warned to not use Telegram to prevent Russians from spying on them.

One of the strongest proponents of this warning is the founder of Signal, Moxie Marlinspike. Marlinspike took to Twitter to warn Ukrainian users about Telegram amidst the rising usage of the app over this period of attacks and conflict. Various Ukrainian government officials, agencies (including military and security departments), etc., have been reportedly using Telegram and social media channels to spread the word about what is going on-ground and alert people about cyberattacks. Requests have been made across platforms for Ukrainian hackers to rise and defend the nation and to hack the Russians right back.

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T&S Careers & Jobs

T&S jobs posted recently, often within the last 24 hours, looking for top talent.

Check out all the recent T&S job postings here.

Legal Trust and Safety Technology Data Program Manager

Meta | San Francisco, CA, USA

Posted: Mar 03, 2022

  • The Technical Programs team in Meta's Security, Integrity, and Investigations organization is looking for an experienced Technical Program Manager with a strong data background who is able develop process, prioritization and strategy balancing the needs of multiple stakeholders

  • Lastly, the candidate should have familiarity with or be willing to work on the intersection of tech, legal, compliance, and government matters

  • B.S. in Computer Science or a related technical discipline, or equivalent experience

  • 8+ years of software engineering, data, or technical product/program management experience

  • Experience delivering tech programs or products from inception to delivery

  • Knowledge of user needs, gathering requirements, and defining scope

  • Experience operating autonomously across multiple teams, demonstrated critical thinking, and thought leadership

Trust and Safety Specialist

Pride Global | San Francisco, CA, USA

Posted: Mar 02, 2022

  • Bachelor's degree in related field required Knowledge of national and local data safety laws Certified Safety Professional certification Excellent communication skills, verbal and written Detail oriented and a team player Job Types:

  • Monday-Friday RESPONSIBILITIES Work with law enforcement to help understand best practices for trust and safety of user data and protection

  • Support child safety, terrorism, and emergency response teams in filtering out unsafe content

  • Support with tactical engagement and education for local and state law enforcement agencies

  • Partner with internal teams in supporting the community of users

  • Stay up to date on cyber threat technology to educate teams on raising red flags when content is threatening or graphic

  • Support Law Enforcement Outreach Managers on communicating best practices to the teams when dealing with trust and safety issues

US Trust & Safety Comms Manager

TikTok | Los Angeles, CA, USA

Posted: Mar 03, 2022

  • We're looking for someone who is enthusiastic about storytelling and media relations with a proven ability to easily distill and communicate complex safety, regulatory, and tech policy issues

  • You also have strong crisis comms experience and a passion for addressing Trust & Safety related issues

  • Ideal candidates have excellent media and analytical skills and can collaborate with ease across teams around the globe

  • You're good at connecting the dots and you instinctually understand the Trust & Safety landscape as it relates to both challenges and opportunities for technology companies

  • You're resilient, thrive in an entrepreneurial environment, and you're able to respond to a range of situations with empathy and a people-first mindset

  • Ideally, you also have a baseline understanding of the current US political environment

  • 8+ years of communications experience

Strategy and Operations Lead, Trust and Safety

Google | Washington, DC, USA

Posted: Mar 03, 2022

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent practical experience5 years of experience in relevant fields such as Operations, Internet Industry, Trust and Safety, Consulting, and/or Corporate Strategy

  • Experience in business strategy and/or operations consulting or similar Preferred qualifications: Experience working collaboratively with different team members and landing initiatives

  • Experience structuring and executing complex strategic initiatives Familiarity with Google products, types of online abuse, policy development, and strategies in these areas

  • Excellent analytical problem-solving and verbal, written, and presentations communication skills, with the ability to influence executive audiences while demonstrating objectiveness

  • Excellent sense of ownership to design and execute processes with an emphasis on iterative improvements About the job Trust & Safety team members are tasked with identifying and taking on the biggest problems that challenge the safety and integrity of our products.

Trust & Safety, Strategist - Moderation Strategy

Indeed | Austin, TX, USA

Posted: Mar 03, 2022

  • 5+ years work experience with an emphasis on business intelligence, data analysis, operations or related field

  • Strong skills in project management and leadership

  • Thorough knowledge of SQL to write complex, highly-optimized queries across large volumes of data

  • Self-starter, intellectually curious and comfortable operating in a fast-paced, ever-changing environment

  • Mustbe organized, positive, proactive, and results-oriented

  • Strategic thinker with strong analytical and creative problem-solving skills

  • For positions that can only be performed at an Indeed office, candidates must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and present acceptable proof of vaccination by the date of hire as a condition of employment

  • For positions that require some in-office work or in-person client meetings, exceptions to these in-office or in-person job requirements may be made at the discretion of the business through June 2022, at which point full vaccination will be required


What is T&S?

Great question (and one the industry hasn’t fully agreed upon). Think of Trust & Safety as the organization that protects social media and Big Tech companies and users from online abuse. As long as users are able to generate content online, time has told us that a minority of these users will create content that is offensive, scandalous, fraudulent, disingenuous, misinformative, hateful, spiteful, and harmful. T&S fights this with flexible policies, resilient operations, and informed detections.

Is T&S interesting?

That depends. If you enjoy stopping bad actors and keeping good people safe, then you’ll love T&S. It requires understanding new technologies and staying on top of breaking issues across society and the world. It also pays Big Tech salaries (no coding skills required).

How do you get into T&S?

That’s the tricky part. The short answer is: not easily. Most T&S orgs are part of Big Tech and (as a result) pay extremely well, so jobs are highly competitive. If you don’t know someone in the industry who can help refer you in, then you can learn more about T&S policies, current events, issues, regulations, and jobs at to improve your hiring chances and start doing meaningful work that helps people.