As the amount of abuse on online platforms continues to grow, major questions are still unanswered – both ethical and technical. How companies can best keep their users safe, particularly with new regulations being enacted around the globe to try to tackle the problem.
Looking into the future of AI content moderation by developing machine learning models and integrating third-party solutions to suit clients' needs, UK-based startup Checkstep has closed a $5 million seed round. Co-led by Dawn Capital and Form Ventures with participation from founders of GoCardLess, Indeed and Redbus Media Group, the investment will be used to develop Checkstep’s technology and brand awareness.
Founded in 2020 by Guillaume Bouchard and Jonathan Manfield, the company aims to tackle propagation of misinformation during the Covid pandemic. The company has since expanded its focus to meet the other needs of its customers, covering a wider range of harms such as hate speech, Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM), bullying and spam. Recently, it developed the essential features to also include copyright infringement management capabilities.
Guillaume Bouchard, CEO of Checkstep said: “With the acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk, getting content moderation right is not only a priority for the democracies in the world, but also a business imperative for any platform hosting user content. The problem has been exacerbated by the pandemic when in-person interactions became mostly online. Today, every major world event is a new moderation issue: the storming of the Capitol, the responses to the George Floyd killing, the racist comments following the EuroCup, the war in Ukraine, etc. Despite a total addressable market of over $3 billion, existing technology is insufficient to support the needs.”
Norman Fiore, general partner at Dawn Capital said: “Checkstep is a great example of technology being used for good. As the regularity of harmful abuse on online platforms continues to grow, the ability to ethically moderate users and content is becoming increasingly important. We are seeing this increased scrutiny at government level, with legislation such as the recent Online Safety Bill looking to tackle the issue head on. Checkstep provides a solution to this issue, and we are excited to be able to support it at this important stage of its development.”