Pendulum, a new Madrona Venture Labs startup, aims to combat misinformation on video platforms

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Mark Ledwich and Sam Clark. (Pendulum Photos)

Misinformation is a big problem. Tech giants including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube — which deleted 500,000 COVID-19 misinformation videos — are under scrutiny for the spread of false content on their platforms.

A new startup out of Seattle wants to help provide a solution.

Pendulum is the latest company being incubated inside Seattle startup studio Madrona Venture Labs. It’s led by two data scientists, Sam Clark and Mark Ledwich, who created a project called Transparency.tube to categorize political and cultural content on YouTube.

Pendulum describes itself as an “information forensics company that classifies publicly available video content to identify the source, message, and evolution of harmful narratives.”

The company on Tuesday released a report that identifies QAnon videos on YouTube, Bichute, and Rumble. Pendulum identifies QAnon content using its own technology that analyzes various aspects of a video.

Maria Hess, partner and head of growth at Madrona Venture Labs, said the company has had interest from brand advertisers, advertising agencies, government organizations, media outlets, and others. Pendulum also analyzes audio and image content.

“We believe tracking and combating harmful narratives will be important for a variety of customers,” she said.

Hess declined to share details of Pendulum’s business model or how the company will make money.

Formed in 2014, Labs raised its third fund last year and spun out several companies. One of its spinouts, B2B messaging service Chatitive, was acquired by Mailchimp in January. It was the third Madrona Venture Labs spinout to be acquired; others include Mighty AI (Uber) and MessageYes (Nordstrom).

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