Twitter acquires anti-abuse startup Smyte

Tim Maytom

Twitter has consistently had problems with users carrying out abuse and harassment on its platform, and has struggled to balance its commitment to unregulated free speech with anti-harassment policies and a desire to create a friendly environment for both users and advertisers. Both consumers and brands may have cause to celebrate, then, at its latest acquisition, tech company Smyte.

Smyte describes itself as “trust and safety as a service” and focuses on offering tools to stop online abuse, spam and harassment, as well as protecting user accounts. The San Francisco-based startup was founded in 2014 by former engineers from Google and Instagram, and is Twitter’s first acquisition since December 2016.

“Smyte’s products will help us address challenges in safety, spam and security more quickly and effectively,” said Twitter in a blog post announcing the acquisition. “Their review tools and processes will be powerful additions to our own tools and technology that help us keep Twitter safe. We’ll integrate this technology to strengthen our systems and operations in the coming months.”

The team behind Smyte has a strong foundation in ensuring security and fighting spam and abuse. CEO Pete Hunt previously led Instagram’s web team and helped build the platform’s business analytics products; co-founder Julian Tempelsman worked on Gmail’s spam and abuse team, as well as Google Wallet’s anti-fraud team and the Google Drive anti-abuse team; and third co-founder Josh Yadaken was a member of Instagram’s core infrastructure team.