Earlier this month, the National Youth Mental Health Foundation launched an app called Reword to combat online bullying. The app has a million downloads to date and works by identifying cruel or intimidating language online. It encourages users to phrase words by identifying sentences which are hurtful.
When faced with a bully, many people visiting publishers simply leave, preferring to stay away from personal attacks. Publishers have been worried about their for years, but the effort involved in manually moderating every conversation can be daunting. To keep people away from negative experiences online, Google has introduced an artificial intelligence tool called Perspective.
The tool relies on online ratings from people to understand how toxic an online comment is. It then eradicates it from the internet, blocking the user IP as well from future comments with its certified publishers. Google hopes the API will serve blogs, publishers, and websites with moderating online discussions and content.
Advertisers have long demanded a tool such as this, reluctant to support a publisher that allows online bullying to flourish on sites. The tool is not just Google’s way of encouraging a positive discourse online, but also critical to a society that views digital and social media as an enabler for psychological problems in teens worldwide. The responsible response from Google is welcome and the community will need to band together to report hurtful commentary to the API to move forward.