Institute of Global Politics at Columbia SIPA Will House New Trust and Safety Tooling Consortium | Institute of Global Politics | SIPA

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Columbia SIPA
NEW YORK, February 21, 2024 — Dean Keren Yarhi-Milo of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and Camille Francois, a SIPA lecturer and research scholar, today announced the Trust and Safety Tooling Consortium, a new research effort to map the state of the art with respect to open-source tooling and identify concrete pathways towards open, sustainable, interoperable, and scalable tools. The Consortium will be housed at the Institute of Global Politics (IGP) with SIPA’s growing Trust and Safety program.
“I am confident that this project will also generate real-world impact by providing concrete follow-through on recent commitments made at the Munich Security Conference that highlight the critical importance of building more robust open-source Trust and Safety tools.”
The initial vision for this project originated in the Scaling Trust report recently issued by the Task Force for a Trustworthy Future Web, of which François, who is also an affiliated faculty member at IGP, was a founding member. Among other highlights, the report states that “Trust and safety tooling is ripe for intentional, collective investment and focus. More effective, openly available tooling could lower barriers for small and medium-sized entities seeking to build stronger trust and safety practices.”
We are so proud to launch the Tooling Consortium, which will cement Columbia University as an epicenter of Trust and Safety research and education.
— Dean Keren Yarhi-Milo
As part of the new Consortium, SIPA will assemble a project team of experts from industry, civil society, and academia to conduct a comprehensive assessment of existing tooling capabilities and better understand the practical needs of users, platforms, and other key stakeholders. The Consortium will also aim to improve knowledge and understanding of trust and safety tools, aiding researchers and the public alike.
“The project is ultimately about democratic oversight and accountability for the tools that shape our information landscape, which anchors this work back to the rest of what we’re doing at the Institute of Global Politics,” said the Nobel Laureate Maria Ressa, who is working with the Consortium as one of IGP's Inaugural Carnegie Distinguished Fellows.
“Technology that improves online safety should never be one company’s competitive advantage, but should be shared for the common good,” said Clint Smith, the Discord executive responsible for Law, Policy & Safety. “That’s why Discord strongly endorses taking a more structured approach to the development and distribution of open source Safety technology, and we’re proud to join with Google and leading philanthropic organizations to support SIPA’s work to advance this vision — for the benefit of society and the industry.”
Financial support for both the Consortium and SIPA’s Trust and Safety Program comes from the Future of Online Trust Safety (FOTS) Fund, a fiscally-sponsored multi-donor fund at Global Impact that supports charitable activities to build a more robust, capable, and inclusive Trust and Safety ecosystem and field. Current contributors to the Fund include the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, the Omidyar Network, Google, and Discord. Mozilla, which has been a collaborator in IGP's work on AI and Democracy, is also a key partner of this initiative.
For media Inquiries, please contact Rachel Szala, Associate Dean of Communications and External Relations:, 212-854-0552
About the Institute of Global Politics: The Institute of Global Politics (IGP) is a new hub to connect the world’s leading policymakers, political leaders, practitioners, and scholars. Housed at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), the Institute will produce cutting-edge research with real-world policymaking to advance innovative, evidence-based solutions to our most pressing global challenges. For more information, please see here.
About the School of International and Public Affairs: For more than 75 years, SIPA has been educating professionals who work in public, private, and nonprofit organizations to make a difference in the world. Through rigorous social science research and hands-on practice, SIPA’s graduates and faculty strive to improve social services, advocate for human rights, strengthen markets, protect the environment, and secure peace, in their home communities and around the world. For more information, please visit