Pendulum: Identifying potentially harmful narratives online

After raising US$5.9million, we take a look at Pendulum who are using AI and ML to help companies predict, track and combat harmful narratives

The rapid spread of mis/disinformation is a growing problem for companies, governments and ultimately, society. Tech giants including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, are under scrutiny for the spread of false content on their platforms.

Pendulum’s platform applies AI and Machine Learning to uncover threats and opportunities contained in narratives in the earliest days of their formation and track them as they spread online. 

By dissecting and categorising the narratives in text, video, and audio, on social media platforms, Pendulum enables companies, government, and organisations to not only discover which narratives are developing into threats and opportunities in near real-time but also see how they are evolving. 

 

Enabling customers to understand the growth of specific narratives 

“It is clear that social media has played a huge role in spreading harmful narratives that are driven by groups or individual creators. Corporations, individuals, and brands are often implicated in these narratives, but until now, they had no predictable way of catching the narrative before it was too late,” said Mark Listes, CEO. “By applying AI and ML to these complex mediums, we enable our customers to understand the growth of specific narratives and make data-informed decisions to stay ahead of the threats and opportunities.”

Pendulum was founded by CEO, Mark Listes and Head of Data Science, Sam Clark. Listes is a former national security leader who helped the U.S. Government combat harmful narratives and foreign election interference in 2016, and then went on to help lead the National Security Innovation Network, a U.S. Department of Defense innovation and venture engagement office. Clark is a machine learning expert, who used his expertise in natural language processing to pioneer the novel narrative tracking technology that powers Pendulum’s abilities and built the world’s most comprehensive video dataset of election-related misinformation narratives for the 2020 election cycle. 

The two met at Madrona Venture Labs where they worked with the team and with Madrona managing director, Hope Cochran, to further develop the company. 

 

Providing visibility to organisations 

Pendulum is building a platform that tracks narratives across any medium, and already analyses audio and video from major video platforms like YouTube, unmoderated platforms like BitChute and Rumble, and podcasts.

“The rise of potentially harmful narratives that espouse a perspective at odds with reality and demand action have been dramatic and are real threats to our institutions and organisations,“ commented Hope Cochran, managing director, Madrona Venture Group. “Pendulum provides visibility that boards, corporate risk intelligence, government and other organisations need to identify and take quick action against the rising narratives in their nascent stages. The Pendulum team is uniquely suited to building a platform that will help provide these insights for a broad base of customers.”

 

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