Making the internet a more welcoming place with Head of Trust & Safety Mazza Bonnelly

Meet the New York-based Linktree employee who’s on a mission to keep our platform safe.

Marlene (Mazza) Bonnelly hadn’t set out on a career path in Trust & Safety after college. She majored in Psychology but quickly realized she didn’t have the funds or time for a doctorate, and instead pivoted to become a content moderator.

Since then she’s devoted her career to ensuring the internet is a safer place, and she now leads Linktree’s global Trust & Safety team.

Despite the serious nature of her role, outside of work Mazza is a cosplayer, dressing in costume and attending comic book conventions. She even painted herself blue to look like a character from her favorite Dungeons & Dragons podcast! She told us, “I spent six hours walking the convention, taking photos with strangers, and letting fellow fans win plush macarons from a toy gashapon machine that my partner kindly hauled around.”

How does Mazza ensure she and her team avoid burnout? Find out below.

 

Can you tell us about your role as Head of Trust & Safety? What does this entail?

Trust & Safety is a catch-all term for many parts of the business that involve maintaining user and brand safety. As the head of the team, my job is to develop solutions and oversee operations related to content moderation (taking action when a Linktree user shares something that violates our Community Standards), risk mitigation (ensuring that we have measures in place to prevent the abuse of new product features, for example), policy (working with teams like legal to identify legislation that might affect us, then drafting compliance practices), and much more.

In essence, I want to make Linktree the safest place for users, visitors and brands. Much of that effort is a game of putting out fires while doing everything possible to prevent new ones from forming, but I’m very fortunate to be part of an incredible team capable of doing just that. It’s absolutely a group effort.

Why did you decide to pursue a career in Trust & Safety? 

Like many good things in life, it just kind of happened. My background in psychology is not directly related to Trust & Safety, but still relevant. When I realized that I didn’t have the time or funds to pursue a doctorate, I explored other career options and somehow wormed my way into an entry-level position as a content moderator for a fairly large platform. The work was challenging but satisfying and very, very important, so I dedicated myself to it.

I think my perspective is a little unique in the field because I did start out as a content moderator all those years ago. That means I understand the immense value of moderators’ input for policies and procedures. I also understand that a job in T&S can be taxing: you see some of the worst kinds of content on a daily basis. Burnout is a real possibility that few organizations want to even acknowledge. As jovial as I try to be, I take my job very seriously precisely because I need to meet the needs of the business while protecting my team’s mental health.

I’m beyond grateful that Linktree understands that balance and has emphasized T&S’ importance from my very first day.

What’s your favorite thing about working at Linktree? 

Learning all the Australian slang. Just kidding (though that is a big perk)!

Everything about Linktree is fast. We pride ourselves in constantly innovating, expanding, improving. That kind of work requires a lot of cross-functional collaboration and, while that may sound daunting, it’s actually my favorite part of the gig. I get to work with such a variety of talented, charismatic and generous people from all over the world to make something that millions of folks use every day. Makes showing up to work easy!

What’s the most rewarding part of your job? 

That’s a tricky one. Many in Trust & Safety will tell you that the field isn’t designed to be inherently rewarding. After all, your job is to be the enforcer of policies that are necessary, but not always aligned with your personal beliefs, or even with the public’s beliefs. Trust & Safety is influenced by legislation, technical restraints, and more.

Still, I see the fruits of our labor every day. I know that every time we target a bad actor spreading hate, for example, their sphere of influence narrows. Fewer people will be exposed to that content. I find that knowledge immensely rewarding.

Hot tip, by the way: if you’re ever especially impressed with the help you’ve received from a platform’s Support or Trust & Safety team, let them know! It makes our day. 🙂

What’s your go-to weekday lunch?

I’m lucky enough to have a Dominican restaurant nearby. My go-to is cheese mofongo with a passion fruit (“chinola”) juice. If you’ve never tried Dominican food before, I highly recommend it!

What would we most likely find you doing on the weekend?

Despite the wild costumes, I’m not actually a very adventurous person. On the weekends I like to sleep in, then spend a few hours writing fun stories with friends. In the evening, I’ll often work on customizing models– my most recent was a resin print of a Loki figure from the Disney+ show that I painted with an airbrush and my own unsteady hands. Came out pretty well, in my opinion!

What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?

In my younger years, I signed up to be part of a TV show. The producers wanted my reaction to be “authentic,” so they didn’t give me any details on what to expect or what I would do, only an address for a random house in Brooklyn and guidelines for what to wear. I was fairly confident I wouldn’t die, but I still found the situation sketchy enough that I asked a friend to hang out in the neighborhood until I was sure it was safe. If I didn’t text them within a few hours, they’d know trouble was afoot.

(Trouble did not end up being afoot, by the way. I was fine!)

 

We’re continuing to grow our team of passionate, collaborative people. Explore our open roles here.

Credits

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We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which our office stands, The Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation, and pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. Linktree Pty Ltd, 223 Liverpool St, Gadigal (Darlinghurst) NSW 2010