Sean Li

Policy / Trust & Safety / Legal / Community

San Francisco, CA


Office Hours

How does this work?

Currently consulting; always happy to help with thorny T&S and policy questions. Jack of many trades, master of some. 10 years of experience in trust and safety, operations, platform and public policy, crisis response, legal, product, and a touch of coding on the side.

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trust & safety
Work experience

Jan 2021 - Apr 2021



Consulting across a number of technology companies in various verticals on Trust & Safety, Community, Policy, and Legal issues.


Jul 2017 - Dec 2020


Director of Trust, Safety, and Policy and Legal Counsel

Everything Policy, Trust and Safety at Discord. Responsibilities included: * Core Trust & Safety: Started and scaled the (40 person) team to handle all inbound Trust and Safety requests from when the company was ~10M MAU to over 100M MAU. Hired and trained all members of the team to respond to everything from harassment to violent extremism and child safety. Scaled operations from 30 requests a day to over 5000 requests a day. Set up proactive teams to investigate and action bad actors on the worst-of-the-worst content. * Policy & Crisis Comms: Set, determined, and enforced platform policy, handled sensitive content, and responded to emergency escalations. Responded to crises and worked with executives, customer support, security, and other teams to drive incident response plans, craft messaging, and provide on-the-record and on background statements on high profile situations. Gave interviews to the New York Times, Protocol, and other journalists, and established relationships with the ADL, Tech Against Terrorism, GIFCT, NCMEC, ICMEC, AccessNow, and other NGOs. * Product Management: Worked with product and engineering to build user-facing product features like in-app reporting, background anti-abuse features like PhotoDNA, and improvements T&S efficiency tools through automation and deflection of inbound responses. Acted as Trust and Safety checkpoint for all product launches, and worked with engineering, product, and marketing to ensure that abuse cases were considered before shipping. * Legal: Counseled the company on regulatory, product and privacy issues, including rewriting the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, analyzing new international regulations, and compliance with the Stored Communication Act. Worked with product and engineering to implement GDPR, ensure CCPA compliance, implement user rights into the application, and managed outside counsel working on privacy and litigation issues.


Dec 2016 - Jul 2017


Privacy Manager

• Responsible for the design and development of the privacy program at Dropbox, including working with stakeholders in trust and security, engineering, and policy on GDPR compliance and writing privacy impact assessments. • Managed a cross-functional group to self-certify to the Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework, including deep dives into data flows, analyzing the legal principles of the framework, and ensuring compliance with stated requirements. • Acted as point person in fast-paced escalation scenarios, including correspondence with regulators seeking information on privacy incidents that required both technical knowledge and legal understanding. • Set policies regarding data use and privacy in weekly meetings with engineering and product security teams


May 2016 - Dec 2016

Reddit, Inc.

Sr. Trust & Safety Specialist, Legal Operations

• Directed a project using data analysis to target and remove bad actors from Reddit, resulting in hundreds of users being punished for harassment and abuse that had previously not been caught. • Responsible for DMCA compliance, processing all copyright notices and counter-notices pursuant to the DMCA, handling trademark takedown requests, and updating policy. Revised and updated the repeat infringer policy, and researched current Ninth Circuit doctrine on contributory infringement. • Drafted and implemented new site-wide content policy, balancing the legal protections of CDA § 230 with platform goals, and set standards for enforcement of content removal across the platform on harassment, racism, and abuse. • Created product requirements documentation for copyright and data request tools, acting as the liaison between legal and engineering to drive creation of functional, extensible tools, and resolved disputes between stakeholders. • Assisted with civil and criminal warrants, subpoenas, and court orders, handling intake, assessment, and production of data to law enforcement entities and working with external counsel.


Jan 2016 - May 2016

ZwillGen PLLC

Legal Intern

Helped clients with issues involving data protection and information security, law enforcement requests, litigation, and more. Specific projects included domestication of data requests, class action litigation defense, statutory security requirements for education verticals, and legal research into congressional actions and judicial history.


Nov 2015 - May 2016


Law Enforcement Response Team Manager

Responsibilities include: • Interviewing, hiring, training, and managing a team working on law enforcement requests from federal, state, and local law enforcement. • Serving as an escalation point for communicating with law enforcement and attorneys' offices on Dropbox's official policies and procedures, as well as testifying in state and federal court on behalf of Dropbox. • Producing the Dropbox Transparency Report, Law Enforcement Handbook, and Dropbox Government Data Request Principles. • Creating and shaping policy surrounding data requests, including system for international data requests, exigent requests, as well as decedent access requests and crafting content policy rules. • Serving as the escalation point for copyright requests, account access requests, and more. • Responding to non-party civil subpoenas requesting data from Dropbox users and managing outside counsel.


Oct 2013 - Oct 2015


Legal Operations Specialist

Responsible for four main areas: Legal Compliance: • Analyzed and responded to all data requests from federal, state, and local law enforcement as the only person responsbile. • Communicated with law enforcement organizations and attorneys' on Dropbox's policies and procedures • Crafted and implemented policy surrounding data requests, including treatment of international data requests and requests involving exigent circumstances • Produced the Dropbox Transparency Report, Law Enforcement Handbook, and helped draft the Dropbox Government Data Request Principles Copyright: • Evaluated and processed takedown notices and counter-notices • Communicated with both content-owners and uploaders on the DMCA process • Ensured that Dropbox maintained compliance with 17 U.S.C. § 512 and participated in OPIA multistakeholder meeting on DMCA notice and takedown system improvements • Proposed and implemented internal policy on DMCA process and wrote parameters on expanding the internal DMCA tool capabilities Terms of Service Violations: • Created and maintained internal policies and processes on account security issues, sensitive user requests, and terms of service violations (harassment, illegal content, etc.) • Served as an escalation point for assistance to user operations team on such matters. • Reported content to NCMEC, improved processes and created a python codebase to report incidents to NCMEC instead of using the web form. • Trained members of the user operations account security team Security: • Performed analysis on identification and activity profile of bad actors through multi-database analysis. • Coordinated response to service incidents for the user operations team: worked with cross-functional group to create messaging, implemented technical system and team process to target impacted users and distribute messaging correctly


Jun 2011 - Oct 2013


User Operations Engineer, Legal-Embed

Legal-Embed • Responsible for handling law enforcement data requests, DMCA notices and takedowns, AUP and TOS violations, account security escalations, and more. User Operations • Solved thousands of requests and provided the best user experience possible for more than 100 million users, focusing on both both empathy and technical expertise • Dealt with a myriad of issues requiring knowledge in many different fields, including billing issues, quality assurance testing for website, desktop and mobile clients, and user education • Communicated closely with client, web, and mobile engineers on user interface issues, feature requests, and bug reports

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