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People Behind the Product: Safer Internet Day

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Written by Life at Pinterest Team

February 6, 2024 is Safer Internet Day, where at Pinterest we take the time to reflect on how we’re building a more positive and safer online experience for our Pinners. Last year, we were proud to be the first to sign the Inspired Internet Pledge and we continue to show up in ways to support our commitment. This could not be accomplished without the people behind the product who are actively working to make Pinterest safer for our global users. Meet members of the team who are pivotal in building a safer platform so that Pinners can continue to find ideas for life’s most important moments.

What is your role at Pinterest and how does it impact the Pinner experience? 

Siddhant Mohapatra (SM): I am Data & Analytics Manager in the Trust and Safety operations space. Our work in data is really important and critical to minimize the likelihood Pinners will see harmful content. We partner closely with the engineering, product, policy and operations teams to track all changes through proper metrics and provide leadership updates which could lead to some impactful decisions. 

Barry Power (BP): I work as a Senior Safety Specialist on the Content Safety Operations team. Residing in the Trust & Safety department, my role is heavily focused on Pinner safety and ensuring that we create a safer environment for people to explore and create on the platform. My role is mainly focused on enabling Pinterest to provide support to Pinners who may experience mental health challenges.

Isabelle Hayes (IH): I’m a Trust and Safety Product Manager for the Privacy and Safety (P&S) team, which also includes engineers and designers. Trust and Safety (T&S) is focused on Pinners having a safer experience on Pinterest. My team in particular works on product features that help users manage their own privacy and online safety, especially for teens on our platform. This past year, we worked closely with our partners in product, operations and policy to release features like private profiles and Parental passcode.

What drew you to the opportunity? 

SM: Before deciding to join Pinterest, I had been working in the T&S space for a social media platform. Pinterest is a platform that has always inspired me and has helped me learn about many different things. In 2013, I found ‘How to Tie a Tie’ Pins while getting ready for my first interview in the IT space. I was attracted to Pinterest because of its growing user base and goal to create a safer place on the internet where all users of different ages can find inspiration. The unique opportunity I got by joining Pinterest leadership in the Data & Analytics space is amazing, so that I can support the goals of the organization by endeavoring to keep Pinners and Pinterest safe.

BP: Coming from a music background, a lot of people find my career trajectory a bit strange. After completing my Masters in Music, I began to explore jobs in the T&S space. This was a direct result of research carried out in my thesis on the role of music in dehumanizing circumstances. After gaining some work experience in the field, I made the jump to Pinterest due to its focus on creativity and peoples’ interests. With my background in music, and experience in T&S, I felt that Pinterest was the place that would allow me to combine both of these interests and provide fulfillment in my career.

IH: I started at Pinterest in the Marketing org and then transferred to be a T&S Product Manager. I have a background in Sociology, and I was excited about the chance to work on complex and important problems that don’t always have a clear-cut solution. At the time, part of me wondered what it would take to work in this space long-term. It’s been a couple of years, and I’m so glad I made the transition. I get to wake up everyday and do work that helps contribute to a safer experience for our Pinners, and I get to work with a lot of really smart people in the process.

Share a moment or working experience that you’re most proud of. 

SM: We work regularly on publicly available transparency reports which show the public what they're doing behind the scenes. It reveals details about how we handle things like user data, content removals and government requests, making our actions more open and accountable. When these reports are published on platforms and get praise, not only internally but externally as well, we as a team feel really proud of being a part of creating these reports.

BP: One of the moments I’m most proud of is the launch of our new body type technology to increase body type representation on the platform. I was very lucky to be involved in the content safety approach for the launch of this product, which I can only describe as being incredibly rewarding. To see such positive feedback from Pinners, and to witness the impact of this work first-hand, is definitely one of the highlights of my time at Pinterest.

IH: A lot of my all-time career highlights have happened at Pinterest. In all of them, I’ve had the opportunity to work really closely with people with diverse perspectives, dedicated to doing the right thing. Our launch this past summer to release private profiles and teen safety features was one of those projects. A feature like private profiles is complex in part because it touches almost every surface of the product, and I’m proud of how people across the company came together to make it happen.

What do you want people to know about the work that you do? 

SM: People may not particularly know how much effort Pinterest focuses on keeping Pinners safe on the platform through support from various talented team members. One thing I would like to let everyone know is that we are working tirelessly to make sure the platform is safer for everyone. Our focus is always towards supporting the wider organization and making the platform more inspiring for Pinners and providing them with a sense of safety while using the platform.

BP: I definitely want to highlight that the work we do can be tough at times, but it is also incredibly rewarding. We are very lucky to have an amazing group of people who work in many different facets of T&S at Pinterest. Some focus on content-specific work, others on tooling, others on policy, but everyone shares the same goal of making the platform a safe space.

IH: Beyond what Siddhant and Barry have already shared, I want to add that so much of what we do requires balancing ideals that can sometimes be in tension — how do we protect Pinners while simultaneously maintaining their privacy? How do we keep teens safer while also respecting their autonomy? These can be complex questions to answer, but we always aim to build a more positive and safer internet experience for Pinners.

We can’t forget to ask, what are you all currently Pinning? 

SM: I bought a house in the middle of 2023 and have been constantly looking at Pinterest for various ideas to decorate and set it up. One of the best things Pinterest has helped me bring to life is the TV unit I wanted to get for my home. After going through various pre-made units available in Ireland, I switched to Pinterest to finalize a design to get it custom built and the end result was amazing. I am currently looking for more ideas around designing my attic space.

BP: As someone who loves cooking and baking, I’ll use Pinterest to find new recipes I want to try out. Some of my most recent attempts include: Nasi Goreng, Thai Basil Chicken, and Raspberry Almond Bars. However, I’m always on the lookout for quirky musical objects like decor, ornaments, candle holders, and anything else that catches my eye.

IH: I also just bought a house, and there’s so much to do! We have an unfinished basement (which I’ve never had before), and I’m Pinning ideas for how to make a workout space that I enjoy being in. Summer isn’t too far away, so I’ve also been saving ideas for cozy, green outdoor spaces — I can’t wait to host my friends for a barbeque or spend an afternoon reading in the sun.

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