On this day 9 years ago, Thorn was born. It was comprised of a handful of people just beginning to understand the role of technology in child sexual abuse.

Today, we’re a team of nearly 100 people, working across the digital child-safety ecosystem to accelerate victim identification, provide the tech industry with the tools and resources they need to eliminate child sexual abuse material (CSAM) from the internet, and working directly with youth and communities to prevent and address the online sexual exploitation of kids.

As we reflect on the last 9 years, we’re also celebrating the wins of this past year—wins that were only possible because of you, our community of partners and supporters who stand beside us in defending happiness every single day.

Here are 9 moments from 2021 that we’re grateful for:

Julie Cordua speaks at G7 Interior Ministers Meeting

Virtually joining a G7 Interior Ministers Meeting held recently in the UK, Julie spoke to the scale of child sexual abuse online—and the importance of accelerating innovation in response.

The global scale of this issue demands a global response, and we look forward to more opportunities to engage with global leaders in the future.

Safer’s impact accelerates

More companies than ever are committed to proactively identifying, reporting, and removing child sexual abuse material using our Safer product, as the number of customers using Safer more than doubled in 2021.

Additionally, Safer has helped tech platforms to identify over 180,000 CSAM files for removal and reporting so far this year, and more than 320,000 since 2019.  

This year Safer was also made available on AWS Marketplace, expanding access to this vital software to more platforms than ever before. 

Builders sustain Thorn’s work

This year, nearly 600 people joined Thorn Builders—a community of supporters who commit to a monthly gift that sustains our work with essential and predictable funding.

People often ask us how they can help Thorn. This form of giving is truly one of the most powerful things anyone can do.

Become a Builder here.

Thorn for Parents goes live

We’ve spent years understanding directly from kids how they’re experiencing issues like sharing nudes and sexting, as well as what motivates their online behaviors. We’ve learned that many kids aren’t turning to parents offline when they need help navigating online risks, and parents often feel unprepared to talk to their kids about these issues.

That’s where Thorn for Parents comes in, a new digital resource for parents concerned about their kids encountering risks online. From nudes to digital stranger danger to online consent, Thorn for Parents helps parents feel confident with these sometimes awkward yet important conversations. 

Tech industry commits to defending children

When we stand together, we are at our strongest. 

Thorn’s VP of Tech Industry Strategy published a blog on Flickr detailing why it matters that tech companies are stepping up to keep children safe on their platforms. 

And in 2021, industry leaders like Flickr, VSCO, Google, and Instagram publicly committed to keep children safe on their platforms and update child protection policies.

Thorn’s VP of External Affairs speaks at TEDx Warwick

Thorn VP of External Affairs, Sarah Gardner, discussed how user privacy and child safety can co-exist when the will and resources are there. 

As more platforms move towards private environments, we must ensure online child sexual abuse and exploitation continues to be detected and reported.

Working to defend happiness on a global scale

Thorn leadership, including co-founder Ashton Kutcher, met with several prominent leaders this year, including Cedric O, France’s  Secretary of State for the Digital Economy. 

As the EU considers permanent legislation that could affect technology used to identify and report CSAM, we will continue to engage with leaders when and where this issue demands.

Kara Swisher talks to Thorn

CEO Julie Cordua and Thorn co-founder Ashton Kutcher appeared on Kara Swisher’s Sway podcast to talk about our work and Apple’s recent child safety efforts. 

Listen here

Partnering with NCMEC to raise awareness

In April, we partnered with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to co-host a Twitter chat for National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The discussion received millions of views and even trended on Twitter.

The more we talk about these issues, the better equipped we are to respond in meaningful ways.

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