New Article: Rise of Online Trust and Safety Startups in the Wake of Global Disinformation

New Article: Rise of Online Trust and Safety Startups in the Wake of Global Disinformation

In the wake of recent conflicts and the surge of online disinformation, a new ecosystem of startups has emerged with a focus on trust and safety technology. These startups, founded by former engineers from major tech companies like Meta and Google, aim to provide content moderation solutions to a wider range of online platforms.

The demand for these technologies skyrocketed after top tech companies, including Meta and Google, downsized their trust and safety teams as part of cost-cutting measures. With the reduction in resources, online platforms struggled to keep up with the influx of misinformation and violent content spreading across the internet.

Lauren Wagner, a former employee of Facebook and Meta, expressed her astonishment at the volume and complexity of the disinformation circulating online during the Israel-Hamas conflict. As the founder of Radium Ventures, a venture capital firm dedicated to supporting startups working on trust and safety technologies, Wagner emphasized the importance of addressing the spread of damaging information in user-generated content platforms.

The impact of the conflict reaches beyond traditional social networks. Platforms like Discord and Telegram, typically known for gaming and messaging, are now having to take precautionary measures as they can be exploited by terrorist groups and bad actors to propagate propaganda.

Roblox, a popular kids’ gaming site, had to closely monitor user-generated content during pro-Palestinian protests held within its virtual world. The company stated that while expressions of solidarity are allowed, content endorsing violence, terrorism, or hatred is not permitted.

The need for talent in the trust and safety space has increased significantly. Many former employees of Meta and other tech companies have remained committed to addressing this issue and have started their own startups. Cove, Cinder, and Sero AI, founded by former Meta employees, are among the companies utilizing technology to help organizations efficiently manage user-generated content.

The emergence of these trust and safety startups brings coherence and standardized processes to the information ecosystem. They offer tools and guidelines for effectively managing user-generated content across companies, ultimately protecting users from harmful content.

However, it’s not just ex-Meta employees who recognize the opportunity in this space. Founders of startups like TrustLab and Intrinsic, who have previously worked at companies such as Google, Reddit, Apple, and Discord, are also contributing to the development of trust and safety technologies.

The rise of these startups was evident at the TrustCon conference, where various companies showcased their solutions for online trust and safety. Startups like ActiveFence and Checkstep presented their services, interacted with potential clients, and recruited talent.

Cove, one of the prominent startups in this domain, has developed software to help companies manage their content policy and review process. By working alongside content moderation systems, Cove detects issues like harassment, enabling businesses to protect their users without extensive engineering resources.

The rise of online trust and safety startups highlights the crucial need to address disinformation and harmful content online. These startups bring innovative solutions to an increasingly complex landscape, offering hope for a more secure and trustworthy online environment.


What is trust and safety technology?

Trust and safety technology refers to tools and solutions designed to address content moderation and ensure the safety of users on online platforms. These technologies help detect and eliminate harmful or misleading content, combat disinformation, and protect users from online threats.

Why has the demand for trust and safety technology increased?

The demand for trust and safety technology has increased due to a surge in online disinformation and violent content. As major tech companies downsized their trust and safety teams, online platforms struggled to effectively moderate user-generated content, leading to the rise of startups specializing in this field.

What are some examples of trust and safety startups?

Some examples of trust and safety startups include Cove, Cinder, Sero AI, TrustLab, Intrinsic, ActiveFence, and Checkstep. These startups offer various technologies and solutions to help organizations manage and moderate user-generated content effectively, ensuring a safer online environment.