Erase the Hate: Spectrum Labs Series B Aids Fight Against Online Abuse
Detoxing the internet with AI-powered content moderation
In September of 2020, Ridge backed Spectrum Labs’ Series A to help detoxify online platforms inundated with hate speech, bullying, and other harmful behaviors. 16 months later, we’ve invested in Spectrum Labs’ $32 million Series B because the foul-mouthed gremlins of the internet continue to multiply and find new ways to harass users.
The stakes have never been higher. Unimpeded online toxicity can breed tragic real-world consequences, and last year’s Facebook Papers bombshell showed that even a social media giant with ample resources can be surprisingly loosey-goosey in stopping the spread of misinformation and dangerous propaganda.
Spectrum Labs’ AI-powered content moderation is just what companies need to protect users from abuse and thwart hateful behavior before it festers. Most Trust & Safety teams don’t possess the firepower to keep up with slander-a-second cyberbullies. In our post-Pandemic, increasingly online world, moderators mining forums and comment threads for bad actors is akin to playing Space Invaders, except the rows of aliens spawn endlessly. It’s an uphill battle that can often lead to burnout for overworked mods. Spectrum Labs’ intelligent hate eraser works in real time and grows smarter with each trolling attempt and incendiary remark, arming the internet superhighway patrol with turbocharged speed and efficiency.
Companies like The Meet Group, Riot Games, Udemy, Fandom, Grindr, and more depend on Spectrum Labs’ real-time moderation to safeguard their users. Spectrum Labs scans both text and audio for 40+ malicious behaviors (hate speech, violent extremism, grooming, etc.) and supports 30+ languages, with the ability to add more as needed. Audio, in particular, is a burgeoning source of toxicity as podcasts and voice-based platforms like Clubhouse and Twitter’s Spaces grow in popularity. Spectrum Labs’ approach to spotting toxic audio — analyzing audio directly — outpaces other services that transcribe audio into text before deeming it inappropriate.
With each new online community comes an armada of bad actors (read: the Metaverse). Navigating the challenges of such a complex and fast-moving space requires some serious brains and industry know-how. Spectrum Labs’ founding duo fits the bill. Co-founders Justin Davis (CEO) and Josh Newman (CTO) both worked at Krux, a prior Ridge investment, before Salesforce acquired it for almost $1 billion. Justin ran point on data privacy, NLP, and machine learning products at Krux; Newman is a seasoned software architect whose career spans CRM systems, life sciences, and counterterrorism.
The next chapter of Spectrum Labs will be a doozy, and we’re humbled to once again buckle in for the ride. Huge hats off to the entire team for reaching another impressive milestone and continuing to address a far-reaching issue that impacts companies, users, and society at large.
Read more about the Spectrum Labs Series B announcement in the company’s press release.