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Microsoft acquires company that previously advised UK government

US technology company Microsoft has acquired content moderation platform and profanity filter Two Hat.

Two Hat’s content moderation platform utilises artificial intelligence (AI) to classify, filter and escalate human interactions in real time.

“With an emphasis on surfacing online harms including cyberbullying, abuse, hate speech, violent threats, and child exploitation, we enable clients across a variety of social networks across the globe to foster safe and healthy user experiences for all ages,” the company said.

According to data released by Two Hat, the platform monitors and takes action on more than 102 billion human interactions every month, including messages, usernames, videos and images.

“We are excited to announce that Microsoft has acquired Two Hat, a leading content moderation solution provider offering protection measures for online communities with a vision to build better experiences for everyone,” Microsoft said.

Two Hat was founded in 2012 after Chris Priebe left his position as Senior Application Security Specialist at Disney Interactive.

Microsoft, which also owns, manufactures and manages the Xbox gaming brand and all of the applications and communities used to support it, has struggled in the past to moderate hate speech and other forms of offensive language and behaviour online.

The company has taken steps to protect online users in the past and this is an escalation of that effort.

“For any online community to thrive, content moderation is a critical investment to ensure positive user experiences and maintain engagement over time,” Corporate Vice President of Xbox Product Services Dave McCarthy said after the acquisition.

“Microsoft and Two Hat share a vision for using advancements in moderation technology to nurture and protect diverse, global online communities,” McCarthy added.

Two Hat has also previously consulted the British government on the UK’s online safety bill, a manifesto commitment to ‘make the UK the safest place in the world to be online’.

Regarding the consultation, Two Hat provided information on the definition of online harms to the UK’s Department of Digital, Culture, Music and Sport (DCMS), while also recommending best practices around community health and safety.

“We applaud the UK Parliament in their world leadership of creating much-needed online health and safety standards,” Two Hat said at the time.

 

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