Google to Help Pub­lish­ers Find Ma­li­cious Com­ments on Ar­ti­cles

The Economic Times - - Around The World -

Brus­sels: Al­pha­bet Inc’s Google and sub­sidiary Jig­saw launched on Thurs­day a new technology to help news or­gan­i­sa­tions and on­line plat­forms iden­tify abu­sive com­ments on their web­sites.

The t e c h n o l o g y, called Per­spec­tive,will­re­view­com­ments and score them based on how sim­i­lar they are to com­ments peo­ple said were “toxic” or likely to make them leave a con­ver­sa­tion. It has been tested on the New York Times and the companies hope to ex­tend it to other news or­gan­i­sa­tions such as The Guardian and The Econ­o­mist as well as web­sites. “News or­gan­i­sa­tions want to en­cour­age en­gage­ment and dis­cus­sion around their con­tent, but find that sort­ing through mil­lions of com­ments to find those that are trolling or abu­sive takes a lot of money, labour, and time. As a re­sult, many sites have shut down com­ments al­to­gether,” Jared Co­hen, Pres­i­dent of Jig­saw, which is part of Al­pha­bet, wrote in a blog post.

“But they tell us that isn’t the so­lu­tion they want. We think technology can help.”

Per­spec­tive­ex­am­ined­hun­dreds of thou­sands of com­ments that had been la­beled as of­fen­sive by hu­man re­view­ers to learn how to spot­po­ten­tiallyabu­sive­lan­guage. CJ Adams, Jig­saw Prod­uct Man­ager, said the com­pany was open to rolling out the tech­nol- ogy to all plat­forms, in­clud­ing larger ones such as Face­book and Twit­ter where trolling can be a ma­jor headache.

The technology could in the fu­ture be ex­panded to try­ing to iden­tify per­sonal at­tacks or off-topic com­ments too, Co­hen said.

Per­spec­tive will not de­cide what to do with com­ments it finds are po­ten­tially abu­sive; rather pub­lish­ers will be able to flag them to their mod­er­a­tors or de­velop tools to help com­ment un­der­stand the im­pact of what they are writ­ing.

Co­hen said a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of abu­sive com­ments came from peo­ple who were “just hav­ing a bad day”.

The ini­tia­tive against trolls fol­lows ef­forts by Google and Face­book to com­bat fake news sto­ries in France, Germany and the United States af­ter they came un­der fire dur­ing the U.S. pres­i­den­tial vote when it be­came clear they had in­ad­ver­tently fanned false news re­ports.

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