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Tech Talent Tuesday- Tracy Chou

Fionnuala Keane Aug 16, 2022

Engaging with people online provides bullies with a mask. Comments and posts can be made anonymously resulting in some online users believing they can say hurtful things online with little risk of consequences. Tracy Chou is one of many people who has experienced online abuse, but she is one of few that did something about it. 

Tracy Chou is an entrepreneur and  Software Engineer who is widely known for her work advocating for diversity and inclusion in tech.  Chou has had a long career in the tech sector having worked as an engineer for online sites Quora and Pinterest. During this time she developed her skills and knowledge of the tech industry, but she also witnessed and experienced first hand, a clear lack of diversity in tech.  As an avid Twitter user, she took to the platform to vent her frustrations and received sexist and racist abuse in response. 

This inspired the creation of Block Party, a consumer tool for online safety  anti-harassment which Chou launched in January 2022. The software exists to allow users to enjoy Twitter without being subjected to trolls and hate. It goes beyond the safety measures implemented by Twitter but still allows users to experience the app as normal but without the risk of online abuse. 

The software includes Lockout Filters which mute accounts that are most likely to bother the user according to a set of filters they choose, Block Lists which instantly block anyone who liked or retweeted a problematic Tweet, and Helper View which lets people the user trusts block and mute accounts on their behave without handing over control of the account. At present, the software only runs on Twitter, but Chou has plans to expand to other social media platforms. 

As an advocate for inclusion and diversity within tech, Chou also founded Project Include: “a non-profit that uses data and advocacy to accelerate diversity and inclusion solutions in the tech industry” (Project Include, 2022). The not-for-profit is spreading the message that inclusion within a company is not a one-off and it must be a lifelong and ongoing commitment.  Project Inclusion exists to help CEOs understand this and provides recommendations for building a diverse and welcoming workforce. 

Chou’s contribution to the tech sector and her advocacy for underrepresented groups in tech has been recognised by many and she was named on the TIME Women of the Year 2022 and featured in Forbes Tech 30 Under 30 list. 

Equality, diversity, and inclusion are embedded in the values and culture at MCS. This has been a focus of MCS since its establishment in 2008. Event sponsorships allow us to work toward the drive for equality in Northern Ireland, with a recent sponsorship event raising money for local LGBTQ charities The Mermaids NI and The Rainbow Project. 

At MCS we have a dedicated Equal Opportunities Officer who ensures we are attracting and recruiting a diverse applicant base to work at MCS. All employees at MCS receive DEI training which ensures that all our recruiters have diversity, equality and inclusion at the forefront when working with clients and candidates. We recognise that DEI is a life-long commitment and our core values reflect this commitment. 

Make sure you are following Tracy Chou to stay up to date with all this fantastic work, and follow MCS to see the next Tech Talent Tuesday.