A proactive approach to online integrity is a must. Delve into Iftach’s interview to learn how he is empowering the digital space through ActiveFence.
1. Iftach, please give us a brief overview of your career trajectory so far.
I started my career in the Israeli army, where I served in an intelligence unit specializing in the field of electronic intelligence. After my service, I started working in the engineering field, which I’ve now been in for over 15 years. I got into app development and mobile engineering back before the app revolution took off, so I’ve been able to be at the forefront of the industry for a long time.
2. How has your role as the CTO and co-founder of ActiveFence impacted the growth of your organization?
At its core, I am responsible for leading the organization’s technology strategy and ensuring it has the necessary resources and infrastructure to support its development and growth. This includes:
Developing and implementing ActiveFence’s long-term technology strategy as well as prioritizing technology initiatives that align with the organization’s overall business goals and objectives.
Managing the development and deployment of new technologies and ensuring they are integrated effectively into the organization’s operations and processes.
Identifying and pursuing new growth opportunities that leverage the organization’s technical capabilities and expertise.
3. What are the core values upon which ActiveFence functions?
Our main focus is to ensure that platforms providing digital communities make these spaces as safe for users as possible. In essence, our work is centered around making the internet a more secure place. We enable Trust & Safety teams to eliminate blindspots on their platforms and protect their users from malicious content and behavior.
4. What was your inspiration behind venturing into the Trust and Safety and AI space? How has your entrepreneurial journey been so far?
While the world has built protection for cybersecurity, there was no solution for cyber safety – for the trust and safety of platforms and their users. This was a real problem that concerned all internet companies, regulatory bodies, and the media. The industry needed a concrete solution to make the internet a safer place through fast, smart technology, but it was clear to us that tech alone wasn’t the answer: machine learning needs a human touch. That’s why our AI is constantly learning and developing based on the intelligence and data collection that our analysts do every day. You can’t solve new problems with old solutions, which is why we were inspired to design new ones that would evolve with the times.
5. Tell us more about the full-stack solution that your company offers to Trust & Safety teams, worldwide.
ActiveFence is the leading tool stack for Trust & Safety teams worldwide. By employing our end-to-end solution, Trust & Safety teams of all sizes and across any industry are able to protect their platforms and users from malicious activity and online harm, regardless of the content format, language, or abuse area. With our platform in their toolkit, Trust & Safety teams can ensure that their content moderation operations are both efficient and effective, catching violations with a high level of accuracy, easing the workload of their workforce, and creating a safe, secure digital space for their users.
6. What sets ActiveFence apart from its competition?
ActiveFence is unique in its use of contextual AI. Everyone knows that machine learning is an incredible advent of technology, but it alone can’t get the job done. By informing our AI with continuously-updated intelligence, it learns more and more about not just the content it needs to detect but the context of that content as well. While some companies focus simply on bolstering their tech, we make sure ours is always learning, feeding it regularly with data from intelligence collected in more than 90 languages. In an ever-changing world, this is what helps us make sure our clients are always ahead of threat actors. This model is what has helped us protect more than 3 billion global users against the most complex threats on the internet.
7. What are your thoughts on facilitating partnerships and collaborations for your organization? What strategies do you think work best for growing a business?
For Trust & Safety companies to provide adequate responses to threats, collaboration is a necessity. ActiveFence advocates cooperation across the industry for the purpose of knowledge sharing and as a growth engine to enable scalability. We work with various partner organizations, including the Family Online Safety Institute, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, and the World Economic Forum, among others. We are proud to serve as a resource to these organizations, presenting them with intelligence findings that empower them to make informed decisions about policies and best practices in their work.
8. Tell us more about your leadership style. What, according to you, drives employees to reach their full potential?
Many factors can drive employees to reach their full potential, including a clear sense of purpose and direction, opportunities for growth and development, and a supportive and collaborative work environment. As a CTO and as a leader in general, I know I play a critical role in creating these conditions and helping my team members achieve their full potential.
I look at the big picture and understand how technology can be leveraged to support the organization’s overall business goals and objectives.
Ensuring a finger on the pulse of our internal innovations as well as external ones helps me to provide the best guidance and direction I can to the team when it comes to technical matters
9. With the continuous evolution of technology, How do you continue to stay one step ahead of bad actors online?
Threats are complex, and bad actors constantly deploy new tactics to further their operations while evading detection. Instead of tackling these threats as they pop up, ActiveFence advocates a proactive approach to platform safety, collecting off-platform intelligence about threat actors and their techniques and plans. Having a finger on the pulse means we can detect threats before they become a problem for platforms.
In practical terms, this information is not only shared with platforms but is used to teach our contextual AI to maintain our edge in the technological sphere. By having a breadth and depth of industry knowledge available, we can ensure that our solution is the most advanced on the market. In addition, the intelligence we collect is stored in a database where it’s given a risk score that companies can use to determine triaging and prioritization for threats that occur on-platform. By logging the intel that’s collected and determining the potential threats it presents with a statistical model, our solution also helps Trust & Safety teams work more efficiently. Decisions can be made confidently and at scale with a technology that’s constantly learning.
10. According to you, what trends will dominate the Trust and Safety industry in the coming years? What potential does AI hold in addressing/solving the most pressing issues?
T&S as currency / value-driver
The impact of the DSA and other new regulations coming into effect
The continued importance of Safety by Design in new platforms that pop up and changes to existing platforms
T&S Operating System
Generative AI as a disruptor to the industry and how Trust & Safety teams can ensure it’s a safe tech to have on platforms
11. Please mention the awards and accolades received by ActiveFence so far.
AI Breakthrough Awards 2022 for our proactive detection technology.
12. Being a leader, how do you cope with the stress that comes with a position such as yours?
Since my partners and I founded ActiveFence, my role has changed as the company has grown and evolved. Throughout the years, I have developed my principles and surrounding environment to learn and adapt to the changing reality continuously.
Time Management: Time is my most precious resource. I’m a big fan of the Getting Things Done system by David Allen, which I have been practicing since 2015. The guiding principles in that book have allowed me to develop a system in which I can guarantee I’m efficient and effective in task management.
Clear boundaries: Work time is for work, but I make a conscious effort to ensure that any time I spend with my family is without distractions. Given that my work takes most of my day and night, every minute with my family is precious to me. My team: I’m lucky to be surrounded by an incredible team – my business partners, colleagues, and mentors. Israel has a fantastic tech ecosystem, and everywhere you look, there’s someone creating something new, and it’s an inspiring place to live and work. I’m constantly in the company of innovative people, and that’s played a part in helping me with my leadership and self-development.
CTO & Co-founder Active Fence
Iftach Orr is the CTO and co-founder at ActiveFence, a company that enables Trust & Safety teams to be proactive about keeping users safe from malicious online activities. Iftach has over 15 years of experience in the fields of large-scale systems, machine learning, and security. Previously, he worked as the VP of R&D at SimilarWeb and also served in an intelligence unit in the Israeli military.