Posted on: May 5, 2021
Eradicating online child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA) remains a major priority for technology businesses, policymakers and civil society organizations around the world.
Our founders set up the Technology Coalition in 2006 in the belief that CSEA is a collective action problem. We can only eradicate it successfully by bringing together industry, government and civil society; collectively developing groundbreaking new technologies and funding cutting-edge research to create practical solutions; and sharing best practices to implement those solutions industry-wide—transparently and accountably.
Today, we’re delighted to announce that four more leading technology companies—Discord, MEGA, Pinterest and TikTok—have agreed to join the Technology Coalition. They join eighteen current members collaborating to develop rigorous, evidence-based approaches to tackle CSEA. With their involvement, we can scale their expertise tackling online CSEA across our membership, while also sharing the Coalition’s knowledge and experience about what works.
Sean Litton, Executive Director of the Technology Coalition, said: “Our vision is to mobilize the entire tech industry to keep all children safe from online sexual exploitation and abuse. By bringing their strengths, expertise and unique perspectives, each new member takes us a step closer to that goal. Online child sexual exploitation is a complicated and challenging issue, and we need all hands working together to effectively address it and keep children safe. I’m delighted to work with our new members to protect vulnerable children online.”
Clint Smith, Chief Legal Officer at Discord, said: “At Discord, we’re on a mission to create space for everyone to find belonging. Since our inception we have been committed to achieving this by continuously investing in the safety of all users. Our partnership with the Tech Coalition is guided by our common belief that effectively combating online child sexual exploitation requires collaboration and collective action across the tech industry. Joining the Tech Coalition is one more investment we’re making to develop and share effective, evidence-based strategies for keeping young people safe online.”
Stephen Hall, Chief Compliance Officer at MEGA, said: “We appreciate the opportunity to join the Coalition. MEGA has always had zero tolerance to the storage and sharing of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM). We bring an international perspective to the Coalition and look forward to contributing to, and learning from, the Coalition and its members.”
Sev Guardado, Head of Trust and Safety at Pinterest, said: “The Technology Coalition is driving collective industry action to prevent and eradicate online child sexual exploitation and abuse. As a positive and inspirational corner of the internet, Pinterest has a zero tolerance policy and believes these efforts require industry-wide collaboration. We’re proud to join the coalition to work with key players in tech and keep our platform safe and inspiring.”
Tracy Elizabeth, Minor Safety Policy Lead at TikTok, said: “We’re at our strongest when we work together, which is why we’re proud to join the Technology Coalition. Through this membership, we hope to deepen our evidence-based approach to intervention and contribute our unique learnings from addressing child safety and exploitation. TikTok is also joining the board of the Technology Coalition along with a number of committees that aim to advance protections for children online and off and drive greater transparency of evolving threats to child safety.”
Since the launch of Project Protect—the technology industry’s most ambitious effort to date to tackle CSEA—we’ve made significant progress towards our goal to develop consistent approaches across the technology industry:
- We’ve partnered with Thorn, the world’s leading developer of technology to defend children from online sexual exploitation, to invest $1M in child protection technology innovation.
- We’ve developed a fund alongside the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children to encourage research to improve product development and policy understanding to tackle CSEA effectively. The resulting Technology Coalition Safe Online Research Fund has received over 120 applications, and grants will be awarded in the coming months.
- We’ve been working with member organizations to tackle the problem of abuse imagery. In March 2021, we convened over 100 experts from policy, industry, civil society and law enforcement from 23 different countries to develop improvements to help prevent the dissemination of abuse imagery on members’ platforms. We’ll shortly publish a paper presenting the results of a second workshop to address the challenges of self-generated indecent imagery featuring youth.
- We’ve launched rigorous new membership criteria to ensure members are willing to implement technical solutions, respect international policy frameworks set up to fight CSEA, and be held accountable for their efforts.
Next month, the Technology Coalition will be hosting its first annual Multi-Stakeholder Forum to mark the one-year anniversary of Project Protect and highlight the outputs and outcomes of our workshops on CSEA imagery.
If you or your organization would like to join the Technology Coalition or find out more about our work, please contact us here.