Lessons in Kindness: How NEST4US is Giving Back to the Community

Shreyaa Venkat is no ordinary high school senior. A certified soccer referee and player, 3rd-degree black belt and assistant instructor at CJR Martial Arts, Kathak dancer, and recent graduate of the Governor’s School of Agriculture at Virginia Tech, she also maintains a 4.5 GPA and has been recognized as the top 3% of her class.

For most teens, that would be more than enough. Not for Shreyaa, who has dedicated her young life to giving back to the community. Since beginning her community service in the fifth grade, Shreyaa has logged more than 850 hours of volunteer time.

She’s also helping other students give back to the community through NEST4US, the nonprofit she founded to provide volunteer and leadership opportunities to make the world a better place through kindness. Because of her tireless efforts to feed the hungry and inspire youth in her community to give back, Shreyaa is one of ten #Digital4Good winners who will head to Facebook HQ in September to share her story.

Two Hat is an official supporter of #Digital4Good and also has the honor of mentoring Shreyaa before and after the event. We sat down to talk to her about the power of kindness, #Digital4Good, and using social media to spread a positive message.

What inspired you to initially get involved with volunteering? What inspires you now?

Initially, I would volunteer at many different events as a solo volunteer, but I wanted to get more of my friends and community involved, so along with my sister, Esha Venkat, I founded a nonprofit organization called NEST4US as a platform for giving back to the community in a multitude of ways. Our organization has grown from a small project to an impactful organization with over 450 dedicated volunteers.

Shreyaa Venkat tutoring students

As we give back to our community, we felt a sense of joy and pride that we are doing something meaningful and making a difference. The smiles and happiness on the faces of the people we serve are priceless.

My motivation comes mainly from the joy I get from giving back to the community, particularly the less fortunate as I feel that it’s my responsibility to help those in need.

What initiatives are you currently working on with NEST4US?

Currently, we’re hosting a school supply drive, sandwich assembly project, “Birthday in a Box” for underprivileged kids in local schools, and our regular feeding and tutoring programs as always!

Who nominated you for #Digital4Good?

My mom nominated me. She has been an extraordinary influence on my life and always will be. My mom has not only raised me to be a positive person but has supported me in every stage of my life.

What do you hope to get out of your experience at #Digital4Good?

First of all, I’m super excited to be part of the 2019 #Digital4Good initiative! From my experience, I hope to get more outreach for NEST4US and inspire more youth to get involved in their community. In addition, I would like to use what I learn in the conference (tips for increasing fundraising, enhancing mission/vision, better marketing, and more outreach) to help grow our organization more and more so that we can touch more lives and spread our impact to hopefully more states.

Feeding the homeless with NEST4US

We have many plans that we want to implement (including releasing our new app Nestables that we built), but in order to do so, we would need lots of funding, so through #Digital4Good, I’m hoping to connect with more people for corporate sponsorships and partnerships.

What is the role of social media in your organization?

Social media is our main marketing tool for our events and programs and currently, we have pretty good outreach, particularly on Twitter, as we just reached 1K followers! In addition, through social media, we frequently post inspirational quotes in order to motivate everyone to spread kindness always.

How do you use social media to inspire people to get involved?

Through our social media platforms, I promote awareness of reducing hunger by advocating for zero waste and strive to spread kindness and project positive messages to my peers in order to support my community in any way possible.

What message would you like to share with young people who are reading this?

Shreyaa serving at Central Union Mission in Washington, DC

I really want the youth to look at the world in a different way – a world where they are not the center. Community service provides a great pathway for this, yet many kids claim that they don’t have enough time to volunteer. However, I believe that you don’t need to have time, you should make the time to help others. Nothing is impossible- you just need to have the passion and heart to give back. I strongly believe that, even if you have nothing else to give to someone, your kindness will mean the world to them.

Also, many people do community service solely for hours or some other incentive, which I believe defeats the purpose. Finding a volunteer activity that interests you or that you can along with people who share the same interests as you can really motivate you to volunteer with passion.

 


Learn more about NEST4US (and how you can help!) on their site
Follow NEST4US on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube
Learn more about #Digital4Good and how Two Hat is supporting the event
Read an interview with Matt Soeth, co-founder of #ICANHELP

YOLO: Life in the Fast Lane Drives a Vision for Safety

In its first 48 hours, YOLO acquired 1 million users, a plague of cyberbullying, a scalable content moderation solution, and a new vision for the future.

YOLO may have never lived at all if not for a weekend experiment. Gregoire Henrion and his cofounders weren’t really interested in an anonymity app, they were just curious what they could build over an idle couple of days. But when YOLO hit the App Store, it found instant traction and caught a ride on a viral loop via Snapchat.

“We had a million users in two days,” says Henrion. Unfortunately, the anonymous nature of the app was also providing a platform for cyberbullying, which spread like wildfire. “We hadn’t thought of it before, because we’d never dreamed of the scale. But even after one day, we knew it was a big issue.”

Desperate for a solution, Henrion reached out to peers in Paris’ apps ecosystem. “I spoke with a friend at Yubo who used Two Hat’s Community Sift and recommended it,” he says. “He connected me with Sharon, their account executive at Two Hat, who instantly went to work for YOLO.”

“Within a day, we went from having lots of bad behaviors, to being safe as could be.”

YOLO was at this time in the midst of a feeding frenzy of meetings, media and monetization that only the developers of such viral app sensations can truly understand. “We were doing funding calls and everything else – it was crazy – but Two Hat sorted out what we needed, and the implementation was completed within hours.”

YOLO initially went with very strong guidelines before easing settings based on user feedback. “We wanted to fix what was wrong, and we didn’t want to be associated with bad behaviors,” says Henrion. By experimenting with policies and settings we find we are able to deal with 95 to 99 percent of the issues.”

In YOLO’s configuration, inappropriate messages or comments simply do not get shared, but the offending party doesn’t know this. In the content moderation industry, this is known as a false send. But the bully just knows they’re not getting any attention back, which is often enough for them to stop and go away. “Now, we have the app tuned so that the filters are super-efficient,” says Henrion.

“We have a lot of control now; our users are happy, and we are super happy.”

Moving forward, YOLO plans to apply what the company has learned about anonymity and social media to carve a new approach to online safety. “When we look at user behavior now, one of the secrets of YOLO being successful is that even if the user’s name is hidden, you still see the face of the user on their profile pic. This bit of exposure – you don’t know me but you can see my face – is very often enough to make users regulate their behaviors. That’s naturally ‘Safe by Design’ because it’s our normal behavior.”

“If you want to create value you have to make something secure. We’re not naive anymore. We know all the bad things that can happen in social.”

YOLO envisions their community and others as a place where Safety by Design has encouraged users to change behaviors — Why bully, harass or cajole in a community if life on mute is the only possible outcome?

“Anonymity alone is not a sustainable approach to managing communities,” says Henrion. “Two Hat’s Community Sift gives us tools to help shift user behavior, the security system to deal with those who cause trouble, and a solution we know scales quickly.”

 


We’re currently offering no-cost, no-obligation Community Audits for social networks that want an expert consultation on their community moderation practices.

Our Director of Community Trust & Safety will examine your community, locate areas of potential risk, and provide you with a personalized community analysis, including recommended best practices and tips to maximize user engagement.

Sign up today and we’ll be in touch.

Two Hat’s CEASE.ai Technology Integrates with Griffeye Analyze to Help Investigators Rescue Child Sexual Abuse Victims Faster

With this technical integration, law enforcement agencies worldwide can now easily access cutting-edge artificial intelligence to aid in child sexual abuse investigations

KELOWNA, British Columbia, August 12, 2019: Technology company Two Hat Security announced today that CEASE.ai, an artificial intelligence model that can detect, sort, and prioritize new, previously uncatalogued child sexual abuse material (CSAM) for investigators, is now available for law enforcement agencies using the Griffeye Analyze platform.

“A technology partnership between CEASE.ai and Griffeye has been a goal for us since the beginning,” said Two Hat CEO and founder Chris Priebe. “The aim is to provide this technology to law enforcement agencies worldwide that already use Griffeye Analyze in their investigations. CEASE.ai is designed to not only protect investigators’ mental health, which can be severely affected by viewing these horrific images, but also to help them find and rescue innocent victims faster.”

Built in collaboration with Canadian law enforcement and with support from Canada’s Build in Canada Innovation Program and Mitacs with top Canadian universities, CEASE.ai uses multiple artificial intelligence models to detect and prioritize new images containing child abuse. After investigators run their caseload against a hash list of known images, they can then rescan the remaining items through the CEASE.ai plugin to flag new and uncatalogued images.

“We’re thrilled to integrate CEASE.ai with the Analyze platform,” said Griffeye CEO Johann Hofmann. “We strongly believe that artificial intelligence is the future of technology to fight child sexual abuse, and this is an opportunity for us to work with a company that builds state-of-the-art artificial intelligence and get it into the hands of our law enforcement community. This will help them speed up investigations and free up time to prioritize investigative work such as victim identification.”

The growing number of child sexual abuse material has put investigators under enormous pressure. According to their 2018 annual report, analysts at The Internet Watch Foundation processed 229,328 reports in 2018, a 73% increase on the 2017 figure of 132,636. With increasingly large caseloads containing anywhere from hundreds of thousands to 1-2 million images, investigators struggle to sort and manually review all material. The CEASE.ai technology aims to reduce their workload significantly.

“If we seize a hard drive that has 28 million photos, investigators need to go through all of them,” said Sgt. Arnold Guerin, who works in the technology section of the Canadian Police Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (CPCMEC). “But how many are related to children? Can we narrow it down? That’s where this project comes in, we can train the algorithm to recognize child exploitation.”

Two Hat has also made CEASE.ai available for social platforms to prevent illegal images from being uploaded and shared on social networks. Learn more about how CEASE.ai is assisting law enforcement to detect and prioritize new child sexual abuse material on the Two Hat website.

About Two Hat Security

Two Hat’s AI-powered content moderation platform classifies, filters, and escalates more than 30 billion human interactions, including messages, usernames, images, and videos a month, all in real-time. With an emphasis on surfacing online harms including cyberbullying, abuse, hate speech, violent threats, and child exploitation, they enable clients across a variety of social networks to foster safe and healthy user experiences.

In addition, they believe that removing illegal content is a shared responsibility among social platforms, technology companies, and law enforcement. To that end, Two Hat works with law enforcement to train AI to detect new child exploitative material.

www.twohat.com

About Griffeye

Griffeye provides one of the world’s premier software platforms for digital media investigations. Used by law enforcement, defense and national security agencies across the globe, the platform gives investigators and intelligence professionals a leg up on ever-increasing volumes of image and video files

www.griffeye.com

Supporting Student Voices and Digital Leadership with #Digital4Good

On September 15th and 16th, students, educators, and industry friends will gather at Facebook HQ in Menlo Park to celebrate the power of kindness, giving, and positivity. Organized by the California-based nonprofit #ICANHELP, #Digital4Good is now in its third year of honoring student achievements in positive tech and media use. The students featured in this year’s event have led initiatives that feed the homeless, fund innovative pediatric cancer research, focus on suicide prevention, and so much more.

Two Hat is excited to announce that we are proudly supporting #Digital4Good for the third year in a row.

In addition to celebrating with the winners at the event itself in September, we are also taking part in a brand-new initiative and mentoring one of the winners.

Shreyaa Venkat is a junior at Broad Run High School who founded the non-profit organization NEST4US, dedicated to feeding the hungry, inspiring youth to volunteer, and connect the world. In a short time, NEST4US has grown from a small family-based project to an impactful organization with over 350 young dedicated volunteers wanting to make the world better.

Keep watching the blog for an interview with Shreyaa – we guarantee she will inspire you to give back! 

Make sure you tune in to the #Digtal4Good live event on Monday, September 16th from 9:00 am – 10:oo am PST for the “power hour,” during which all ten student winners will present their projects.

Sign up here to receive the direct live stream link on September 16th.


Want to learn more about #Digital4Good and #ICANHELP? Check out these blog posts:

How #ICANHELP is Empowering a New Generation of Digital Citizens (an interview with co-founder Matt Soeth)

#ICANHELP Light the Fire: An Interview With Musician Lisa Heller

Introducing the Tech Power Panel at #Digital4Good

Four Surprising Lessons I Learned From Students at #Digital4Good

We believe that everyone should be free to share without fear of abuse or harassment.

We also believe that making this vision a reality is a shared responsibility.

That’s why we’ve allied with diverse organizations including non-profits, government agencies, private companies, and industry alliances to share best practices, produce online safety resources, and spread the word of proactive, purposeful content moderation.

We’ve partnered with #ICANHELP because they empower students to use social media in a positive, healthy way.