Podcast, VideoJuly 8 2020

Origins of Trust and Safety

Alexander Macgillivray and Nicole Wong

Databite No. 134

Data & Society hosts Alexander Macgillivray and Nicole Wong in conversation with Data & Society Researcher Robyn Caplan as part of Data & Society’s classic Databite series.

Before content moderation became a mainstream topic, tech firms’ Trust and Safety teams and Product Legal Counsels were working to build more professionalization in trust and safety online.

How did these roles originate? What is their influence in the current media and tech company landscape? What will this look like in the future? Concurrent with the launch of the Trust & Safety Professional Association, Alexander Macgillivray and Nicole Wong provide context and forward suggestions as regulation, policy, and public awareness evolve.

Speaker Bios

Alexander Macgillivray, aka “amac,” is curious about many things including law, policy, government, decision making, the Internet, algorithms, social justice, access to information, and the intersection of all of those. He was United States Deputy Chief Technology Officer for the last two plus years of the Obama Administration. He was Twitter‘s General Counsel, and head of Corporate Development, Public Policy, Communications, and Trust & Safety. Before that he was Deputy General Counsel at Google and created the Product Counsel team. He has served on the board of the Campaign for the Female Education (CAMFED) USA, was one of the early Berkman Klein Center folks, was certified as a First Grade Teacher by the State of New Jersey. He is proud to be a board member at Data & Society, Creative Commons, and Alloy.us, and an advisor to the Mozilla Tech Policy Fellows, and part of the founding team of the Trust & Safety Professional Association. https://www.bricoleur.org/

Nicole Wong develops tech international privacy, content, and regulatory strategies. She previously served as Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer in the Obama Administration, focused on internet, privacy, and innovation policy. Prior to her time in government, Nicole was Google’s Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, and Twitter’s Legal Director for Products. She frequently speaks on issues related to law and technology, including five appearances before the U.S. Congress. Nicole chairs the board of Friends of Global Voices, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting citizen and online media projects globally, and sits on the boards of WITNESS, an organization supporting the use of video to advance human rights; the Mozilla Foundation, which promotes the open internet; and The Markup, a non-profit investigative news organization covering technology. Nicole currently serves as co-chair of the Digital Freedom Forum. More info here: about.me/nwong.

Robyn Caplan is a Researcher at Data & Society, researching issues related to platform governance and content standards. Her most recent work investigates the extent to which organizational dynamics at major platform companies impacts the development and enforcement of policy geared towards limiting disinformation and hate speech, and the impact of regulation, industry coordination, and advocacy can play in changing platform policies. Her work has been published in journals such as First Monday, Big Data & Society, and Feminist Media Studies. She has had editorials featured in The New York Times, and her work has been featured by NBC News THINK and Al Jazeera. She has conducted research on a variety of issues regarding data-centric technological development on society, including government data policies, media manipulation, and the use of data in policing.


About Databites

“Databites” is a regular speaker series that presents timely conversations about the purpose and power of technology. Speakers bridge our interdisciplinary research with broader public conversations about the societal implications of data and automation.