Hueman Co-founder & CEO Camille Laurente On Creating Safe Spaces Online

Interview by Breanne Thomas

Hi Camille! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to found Hueman?

I founded Hueman last year when my social media channels became extremely toxic during election season in the U.S. and in the Philippines (where I’m originally from). My social feed was inundated with hate speech and even violent threats against people I knew. It became so difficult to interact with others on positive and inspiring posts. This went on for months.

I felt trapped and couldn’t really find a safe space that solely focused on celebrating positive moments in everyday life. That’s when the idea for the Hueman came to be. Our team has been working hard to develop the first version of our app, which we’re launching soon.

Apart from leading Hueman, I also contribute to HuffPost and Elite Daily about navigating startup life. Before moving to New York City to pursue my post-graduate degree at Columbia University, I was a corporate lawyer at Baker McKenzie, where I helped set up multinational tech companies in the Philippines.

Protecting users against hate speech is a huge topic right now in social media. How will you use Hueman to combat this and provide a safe space for users to enjoy themselves?

By joining Hueman, our users commit to helping us bring out the best in people when they interact with each other on social media. Our platform has zero tolerance for online abuse.

We’re protecting users against hate speech through our flagging function and our hues feed.

  • Flagging: Hueman counts on the community itself (not an external group of people) to moderate content. Every post or comment has a flag underneath it that users can click whenever they see anything abusive or hateful. When the number of flags reaches a very low threshold, the flagged post or comment will be automatically removed. To prevent anyone from misusing or abusing the flag button, the threshold increases as a post or comment receives more likes. Hueman will ban a user from the app for 30 days if three of his or her posts/comments have been removed through the flagging system.
  • Huesfeed: Users can only share thoughts or images that relate to any of the topics we’ve curated. We picked topics we believe bring people together such as food, travel, love and relationships, health and fitness, daily hustle at work or school, and any random thing that turns a person’s day around. We deliberately omitted divisive topics that can incite nasty behavior online.

If you could offer one tip to those Tech Ladies who want to bring a bit of positivity to their current social networks, what would it be and why?

For the Tech Ladies who are hustling and are maybe overwhelmed with the challenges of pursuing their passion, remember that there must be at least one thing or incident that lifted your mood throughout your day or week. Make sure to capture and share that moment. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big or small win; it can potentially encourage, inspire, or motivate someone in your community. Use uplifting and cheerful language, and help others visualize it with an image.