Pendulum helps firms, governments and different organizations track harmful narratives on social media platforms and elsewhere on the internet. The firm right this moment introduced that it has raised a $5.9 million seed spherical led by Madrona Venture Group, with participation from Cercano Management and others. The service was incubated inside Madrona Venture Labs.
“Pendulum’s platform applies AI and NLP technologies to uncover threats and opportunities contained in narratives in the earliest days of their formation and track them as they spread online,” explains Madrona managing director Hope Cochran. “By dissecting and categorizing the narratives in text, video and audio content on social media platforms, companies are better prepared and able to engage with communities as they choose. With support for YouTube, BitChute, Rumble and Podcasts currently available, the platform will grow to encompass all social platforms of importance over the coming months.”
The group behind Pendulum appears uniquely suited to construct a product like that. Co-founder Sam Clark, for instance, beforehand labored as an information mining engineer at Decide.com after which at eBay after it acquired that firm. He additionally co-created Transparency Tube, a challenge that categorizes and analyzes political YouTube channels. Transparency Tube shares fairly a little bit of DNA with Pendulum, and Clark then teamed up with Madrona to construct a industrial product round this basic thought of monitoring mis- and disinformation on-line. That’s additionally the place he teamed up together with his co-founder Mark Listes, who brings plenty of authorities expertise to the group. Listes was beforehand the director of coverage for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and the chief of workers for the National Security Innovation Network, the place he helped handle the U.S. Department of Defense’s enterprise engagement.
While Listes anticipated to have a fairly calm time on the Election Assistance Commission, he clearly picked the unsuitable time for that when he joined in 2016. “By November and December of ’16, the elections space looked a lot different,” he instructed me. “We were dealing with foreign interference and intelligence briefs and everything under the sun. Long story short, over the next two and a half years, I and my colleagues got right in the middle of leading the effort for fighting foreign interference out of our election system. We experienced it both personally and organizationally, and then helped fight to get out of our overall system. Harmful narratives and the impact that narratives, whether they’re mis- or disinformation or malaligned narratives can have on society at large.”
Yet whereas Pendulum can be utilized by authorities companies to track on-line narratives, it’s a industrial service first. “We’re commercial first,” Listes stated. “There’s of course an easy, intuitive government play here, but we’re actually focusing exclusively on the commercial sector first and we’re building out some really powerful partnerships there.”
Listes harassed that for a platform like Pendulum to work, it has to cowl as many platforms as potential. It’s not sufficient to merely track Twitter, which doesn’t supply a consultant pattern of the inhabitants anyway, or YouTube. Because of this, Pendulum additionally tracks BitChute and Rumble, for instance.
But Listes additionally famous that Pendulum isn’t within the enterprise of adjudicating fact. “We actually have this really strong powerful narrative tracking engine that is not reliant on whether or not something’s true or false,” he defined. “We’re staying away from truth adjudication — and that opens us up to a wider range of use cases.” That means the corporate can work with companies, for instance, which can need to track narratives round an organization’s executives and belongings, for communications but additionally safety causes.
Because it doesn’t need to resolve whether or not one thing is true or not, Pendulum opens itself up to be used by nefarious actors as nicely. Listes argues that the corporate doesn’t track any private identifiable data, although, and that the group is kind of cognizant of this chance. “We’re building values to make sure that we’re not ever in any way creating an unfair playing field or empowering malicious actors and things like that through the use of our tool,” he stated.