2020 Impact Report

Building Every Day

Last year presented its fair share of challenges, but the collective impact of our efforts is clear. Here’s what we accomplished together in 2020.
young girl holding silly eyes to her face


Building a world where every child can be safe, curious, and happy means choosing to prioritize children every day. In 2020, our community did just that. Looking back at a challenging year, we wanted to know – what does our collective impact look like on a daily basis?

Each day, on average, we:

Identified 8 children, identified 215 files of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) for removal from the internet, and connected with over 155,000 youth about risk, prevention, and safety.

Our Core Strategies

We work across three core strategies to create systems-level change:

Build products that identify child victims faster
Provide services enabling tech platforms to proactively detect abuse content
Work directly with youth and their communities to build resilient kids

Victim Identification

Nearly 20,000 children identified since 2014

For perpetrators of sexually exploitive crimes against children, technology has made it easier to connect with, groom, and abuse children regardless of where they live or their socioeconomic background. 

Our child sex trafficking investigations tool, Spotlight, reduced agents’ investigation time by over 55% last year and supported the identification of over 2,000 children.

Spotlight has been instrumental in helping me locate juvenile sex trafficking victims. Without Spotlight, some of them I may have not been able to find. Simply put, Spotlight makes a difference and saves lives.”
Special Investigator, Texas

Tech Industry

Over 150,000 CSAM files identified for removal and reporting since 2019

Behind every CSAM file is a child victim in need of support, or a survivor whose trauma continues to spread online. Identifying this content for removal and reporting disrupts the cycle of trauma and in some cases can lead to the removal of child victims from harmful situations.

In 2020 alone, the Safer community of tech companies protected their users and defended victims and survivors by identifying for removal 79,000 child sexual abuse files. Through collective proactive measures, we are moving the needle on eliminating CSAM from the internet.

Read Flickr’s Story →

Safer Customers

The world’s most innovative companies protect their platforms using Safer. These are some of the companies that we’re working with to build the internet we deserve:

Thorn's mission is to eliminate child sexual abuse material from the internet. We want to be a part of that mission in an active way. Partnering with Thorn has enabled us to root out child sexual abuse material using Safer's detection services. Flickr and Thorn are in constant communication, and we often meet for brainstorming sessions to see what solutions we can possibly ideate together that don't yet exist in the child safety space.
Holly Lawrence, Trust & Safety Manager at SmugMug + Flickr

Youth & Communities

56,000,000 youth reached with NoFiltr since launch in 2020

Our youth-based research showed that the sharing of nudes is increasingly common among 9-17 year olds, and the resharing of these images is happening at an alarming rate. According to our survey, 1 in 3 teens had seen nudes of someone else shared non-consensually and boys aged 9-12 are more likely than any other group to reshare an image they received. 

We’re continuing to build foundational research to ensure we are supporting kids where they need us. Our NoFiltr brand is designed specifically for youth navigating these challenges in a digital world, increasing awareness, changing toxic attitudes, and equipping youth with the knowledge and tools they need to enjoy safe online experiences.

young girl holding silly eyes to her face
“Even if there is a law that says [re-sharing SG-CSAM] is illegal or whatever, people will still do it...it’s still going to happen no matter what.”
Cis Boy, Latinx, Northeast
young girl holding silly eyes to her face

Our Donors

More than 5,000 donors contributed generously in 2020 to make this work possible.

“As a mom with two teenage daughters, I am so grateful for the team of engineers and researchers at Thorn. I support Thorn because I want to live in a world where I know my girls are safe online. Thank you, Thorn!”
Ileann, Monthly Donor
“We are thrilled to support the important work that Thorn does every day. They are solving a complex and difficult problem many aren’t aware of with a solution most don’t fully understand. Thorn is building a world where a united, global ecosystem is armed with the very best technology to protect children from sexual abuse.”
Lucien Chan, Managing Director, Portfolio and Investments, Skoll Foundation

Build with us

If you’d like to keep up to date with Thorn’s impact all year, join our community and get our latest research, best insights, and most important wins delivered straight to your inbox.

Want to share the impact? Download the report here.

2020 Financials

75% Programmatic Work

18% Management & General

7% Fundraising

Thank You

2020 was a challenging year, but thanks to you and our community of supporters, we made great progress towards our goal of stopping child sexual abuse online. No matter what the next year holds, we will continue building best-in-class technology on behalf of the children who need us most. You make that possible. Together we are building a world where every child can simply be a kid.