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  • Writer's pictureAlex Cher

You don’t need to know my life story (Pt.1)

But I'll tell it anyways!

Every Trust & Safety professional I know have their own path to this job. Some join after building a successful career in journalism, research or non-profit work, others come right after completing their degree and trying to find their path. Here's how I found my way to Trust & Safety.

Early days

I started my internet policy journey working for an internet hotline. Having completed my undergraduate degree in Psychology two years earlier I was eager to leave the job that had nothing to do with my degree or my interest in criminal and forensic psychology. "Digital crime is also crime" I thought and said yes to the hotline job offer without knowing where that would take me. 

The hotline was very much in its infancy and it was my goal to ‘bring it up’. That meant managing the incoming reports (which, mercifully, were not numerous at the start), redesigning and translating the website, fundraising and building awareness around online safety. Despite the hotline’s broad remit, I chose to focus on child safety, more specifically on prevention of online child sexual exploitation (OCSE). I was able to establish a connection with the INHOPE network and was incredibly fortunate to attend their annual meeting and training program. As a foreshadowing of sorts, I poured over research conducted by the EU Kids Online network to build a better understanding of how children operate online. I discussed the issue of OCSE with any national organisation that would listen, starting from the General Prosecutor’s Office to the main national ISP to the local UNICEF office.

I am here for the ride

Two years, several wins and numerous setbacks later I decided that this ‘internet safety’ work is what I wish to do going forward and on a larger scale. Being a believer in the power of academic knowledge even then, I looked for a suitable postgraduate course. In the end I accepted an offer from the London School of Economics and their Media and Communication Governance course, which I often describe as “how would one develop policies for the media and communications industry without making too many mistakes and sacrifices?”. This was the perfect choice as the programme was exactly what I was looking for (Sorry, Oxford Internet Institute! It wasn’t meant to be). Throughout the programme a lot of the insights I gained from working at the hotline began to find their places in the bigger internet governance picture. Yet, my extracurricular pursuits were by far the most valuable experience at LSE. As a Media Policy Project intern I met the leading researcher of the EU Kids Online project (remember the foreshadowing?) and with her guidance worked on a piece of writing of which I am still very proud. Later I was involved in several other of her projects, part-time while I was still completing my degree and full-time after graduation. 

As my LSE contract was coming to an end, I stumbled upon a job opening at Twitter Singapore. The title was Policy Domain Specialist, Minors & Content… [ to be continued in Part 2 ]



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