Patreon's take on the importance of cross-platform sharing
Cross-platform sharing is an invaluable resource in the eradication of child sexual abuse material (CSAM). As most offenders do not remain on one platform but tend to create new accounts with other service providers when their account is reported, it is crucial that we create and maintain partnerships that facilitate the sharing of valuable information and resources across different platforms.
Patreon, for instance, currently works and partners with NCMEC, Thorn, and INHOPE in a collective effort to protect children and vulnerable people online. We interviewed Amanda Selby, former Minor Safety Manager at Patreon, about their contribution to this cause.
What is the current state of cross-platform sharing?
"There are organizations like the Tech Coalition that are there specifically for industry to cross-platform share and collaborate about issues and solutions affecting all of us today. A great example is the INHOPE Focus group that recently took place. This focus group allowed partners from law enforcement, NGOs, and other tech companies to come together and talk about trends, issues, practices they use at their own company, and solutions they see fit to eradicate these issues on platforms." - Amanda Selby
Patreon is one of the platforms already partnering with INHOPE to create a safer digital environment. We asked Amanda Selby where she sees the main value of cross-platform sharing.
"Keeping people safe online is a shared responsibility. It is only together that we will develop the experiential knowledge to have a meaningful impact on eradicating harmful behavior against children and vulnerable people. To deliver on our shared vision – and shared responsibility – we need shared knowledge." - Amanda Selby
What are the drivers behind cross-platform sharing?
"Companies see that there is not one tech platform that can solely make this change for the better, it takes a community of platforms to recognize first what the issues are, come together to see what has and has not worked, and come forth with solutions, trials, and tribulations. With partnerships available with NCMEC, INHOPE, Thorn as well as different conferences, training, and webinars it is easy to see that we are all working towards the same goal. Why not come together to tackle these issues?" - Amanda Selby
While many companies are already aware of the benefits of cross-platform sharing, not enough parties are participating. It is crucial that we expand the networks of partners in order to reach the full potential of cross-platform sharing. For that, we need to keep reminding relevant stakeholders of the crucial part they can play in creating a safer digital environment.
Who are the most relevant stakeholders?
"Any tech company that wants to make it known that they take this issue seriously, must demonstrate that they want to share as much knowledge as they can, listen and learn from others, and constantly improve safeguarding and tooling on their platform." - Amanda Selby
Encouraging platforms to contribute to this cause by sharing their information and resource is obviously not an easy task. For most companies, data has monetary value that they might be hesitant to share with other organisations.
What is the biggest challenge that you see with the adaptation?
"Companies need to and have already become more comfortable with cross-platform sharing. We need everyone’s input to be able to fully see and understand the issues at hand, and think together to come up with solutions that work for everyone and their platforms. If we keep certain information to ourselves, we are only hurting and reversing the fight in minor safety at the end of the day." - Amanda Selby
One of the concerns that come up in the discussion about cross-platform sharing is data security. Minor safety and the eradication of CSAM are obviously always the priority, but we need to make sure that users' privacy is still protected.
How can cross-platform sharing be made compatible with GDPR?
"In protecting user privacy, GDPR does make it difficult to share certain information amongst platforms and across jurisdictions. We value people’s privacy and that must be balanced with coordination to keep people safe." - Amanda Selby
How can we encourage cross-platform sharing?
"Companies need the space to share experiences that occurred on their platform that did and did not go well, roadmaps for minor safety issues, how and why people report, and making it clear that all platforms deal with these issues. That alignment starts with consistently communicating and educating each other. NGOs like INHOPE are very valuable because they can serve as the honest broker, uniting us all under the same mission and ensuring that conversations and information shared happen in a way that serves the mission." - Amanda Selby
Most companies are aware of the benefits of cross-platform sharing but are hesitant to participate because they do not want to give up their data. We need to keep educating platforms about the importance of tackling Minor Safety and the distribution of CSAM as a group effort and encouraging tech companies to contribute by sharing their knowledge and resources with each other.
"I think companies need to and have already become more comfortable with cross platform sharing because they know that we all cannot make it close to combating these issues on our platforms without each other. It is a team effort at the end of the day, and comparable to a group project. We need everyone’s input to be able to fully see and understand the issues at hand, and think together to come up with solutions that work for everyone and their platforms. " - Amanda Selby
If you work in tech and want your company to contribute to children's online safety, please share this information within your network and highlight the valuable benefits of cross-platform sharing.
If we keep certain information to ourselves, we are only hurting and reversing the fight in minor safety at the end of the day.'