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Google is using machine learning to combat online trolling

For the past few weeks, Google has been increasing its efforts to make the internet a safer place. A few days ago, the company announced that it would demote search results promoting piracy in the UK. Now, Google has partnered with Jigsaw to combat online trolling by utilizing an "early stage technology" that relies on machine learning.

Google has noted that moderators on various forums find it difficult to manage the comments section on sites. In fact, many news websites have shut down comment systems altogether just to avoid spending "a lot of money, labor, and time".

Google pointed out that toxic comments and trolling affects online readers as well. According to a report cited by the company, 72% of Americans have witnessed harassment online and more than half have been a victim to it.

To combat this problem, Google has announced a new project, "Perspective", in partnership with Jigsaw. It describes Perspective in the following words:

Perspective reviews comments and scores them based on how similar they are to comments people said were “toxic” or likely to make someone leave a conversation. To learn how to spot potentially toxic language, Perspective examined hundreds of thousands of comments that had been labeled by human reviewers. Each time Perspective finds new examples of potentially toxic comments, or is provided with corrections from users, it can get better at scoring future comments.

The company says that publishers will be able to utilize an API to make use of Perspective. This will allow a more streamlined procedure for moderators and also enable publishers to emphasize to their readers the influence and impact of what they are writing.

Google has also pointed out that it has been working with some news publishers to test the project. That said, it has emphasized that seeing that Perspective is a project based on machine learning, it is bound to improve with time and increased usage. The company's long-term aim isn't only to combat trolling but make online conversations safer as well.

Source: Google | Don't feed the troll image via Shutterstock

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