Turning a CSAM Crisis into a Public Affairs Opportunity

3 min

Venable Blue developed an escalations strategy to reshape the public image of a leading technology service provider, resulting in new business partnerships and improved management of crucial issues.

A leading technology service provider faced a complex policy and media conundrum when bad actors used their platform to facilitate child exploitation. To help the client preserve its reputation, Venable Blue developed a multipronged strategy to ensure the client had a strong privacy policy, a thorough management of public interest, and a known commitment to defending child safety. In guiding the client through this policy and regulatory crisis, Venable Blue utilized its knowledge in policy, communications, and public affairs, as well as its broad network, to create industry partnerships that led to new business opportunities and enhanced the client’s credibility.

The Issue – Illegally Hosted Content Threatens Client’s Reputation

The client, an industry leader in internet-related services, received a tip that one of the entities it provided website services to was exploiting their services to host child sexual abuse material (CSAM). Although the client recognized its lack of authority over specific website content, the public lacked such clarity. As media and public interest in the matter intensified, the client turned to Venable Blue for help in remediating the gap in its service that allowed the illegal activity to occur and in restoring its reputation.

Venable Blue Response

Aware that the client’s response to external inquiries would frame the public’s understanding of the issue and elevate its importance, Venable Blue conducted a thorough analysis of existing policies and technical abilities to ground the client’s action. The firm crafted responses to media and civil society groups, providing a clear understanding among key stakeholders. With a public relations strategy in place, Venable Blue turned to brand management, focused on helping the client become a strategic and influential voice in the child safety space. Despite being child safety conscious, the client had been traditionally isolated from key industry, trade, and nonprofit advocates in this space. To help the client join a trusted network of child safety leaders, learn industry best practices, and create industry-supported scalable solutions, the Venable Blue team conducted a landscape analysis of key events and players in the space—from NGOs to trade organizations and conferences—that were most aligned with the client’s values.

The Outcome

Given Venable Blue’s network in the industry, our team was able to proactively make introductions between the client and viable industry partners, advising them on what goals and expectations to establish. This approach not only identified NGOs and trade associations for the client to work with, but also provided tailored, tiered communication channels and strategies to develop effective partnership building. In so doing, under a very tight timeline, we put the client on a pathway to become a voice in the child safety space and build greater trust with the public.

How We Can Help You

When your company faces a policy or public relations conundrum, Venable Blue utilizes its expertise to both provide a policy and tech analysis that helps put you on sound footing, and develop a public relations strategy. While guiding you through the crisis, we draw upon our broad network to help create valuable industry partnerships that enhance business opportunities and build credibility for your brand. Learn more here.