Microsoft has acquired the content moderation provider Two Hat, a company that until now has been in charge of keeping harmful content at bay, in, among other systems and tools, games and services for the Xbox console. The company is relatively young, having been founded nearly a decade ago by a security specialist who had worked at Disney Interactive. The terms of the operation are unknown, as well as what Microsoft has paid to stay with the company.
Its particularity is that it uses the Artificial Intelligence to classify and filter billions of interactions human in messages, images, user names or videos, among other types of content. Microsoft had been working with them for several years to improve their Xbox communities, so the purchase of the company is an important step forward to improve the safety of the players and users of that community.
In addition, the purchase is intended to improve Microsoft’s moderation of first-hand content in the gaming industry, but there are plans to extend the service to other Microsoft services for the consumer market later on.
As for the other customers that Two Hat has, they will not have to face the closure of the company’s services, since Microsoft has no plan to stop supporting them. Thus, according to Dave McCarthy, Xbox Product Services Manager, «it is a heavy investment in supporting and servicing Two Hat customers, as well as potential new customers and multiple product and service experiences at Microsoft. With this purchase, we will help global online communities to be more secure and inclusive of everyone’s participation, as well as allowing them to contribute positively and prosper.«.
Microsoft has released several text-based filters for its Xbox network three years ago, and the Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, then unveiled a plan to combat toxicity in the gaming world. Two Hat has been assisting in these moderation efforts on Xbox, and Microsoft also has a much broader goal in this regard: to be able to filter all Xbox Live sessions so that audio calls can be filtered with beeps, similar to the that hide bad language and harmful words in real time.
On this, McCarthy notes that «Over the past several years, Microsoft and Two Hat have worked together to implement proactive moderation technology in both gaming and non-gaming experiences, with the goal of detecting and removing harmful content before it reaches members of our communities. Two Hat’s technology has helped make the Xbox, Minecraft and MSN communities safer for users«.