The internet has brought the modern world more advantages that we can possibly count, but as with all good things, there will always be a negative side. Amongst hackers, scams, and viruses, the internet has brought us one of the most hated types of online negativity – the troll. With the rise of social media over the last 10 years, the number of online trolls has grown to problematic highs. An internet troll is form of keyboard warrior that leaves unwanted comments and opinions that offend, and generally populates the internet with the aim of getting a rise out of other users. Overrun with argumentative comments, some sites have resorted to getting rid of their comments section completely in a bid to stop the daily onslaught of negative remarks.

Manual moderation is time consuming and costly, especially to big businesses and large-scale companies. Now, having had enough, Google has joined forces with Jigsaw to launch a new tool – an API (application programming interface) named ‘Perspective’. This new tool aims to combat vicious comments by rating and moderating based on a level of “toxicity”. The program’s definition of “toxic” was created by asking internet users to rate comments on a scale from “very toxic” to “very healthy”. For reference, the definition of “toxic” in this context was defined as “a rude, disrespectful or unreasonable comment that is likely to make you leave a discussion” – an interesting angle of rating comments.

Jigsaw Product Manager CJ Adams said the purpose of Perspective was to empower publishers to “host robust debates and […] help people stay online without having to read every bit of abuse hurled their way.” The function will hopefully allow comments sections to thrive without the previous inappropriate remarks from internet trolls. Sites such as the New York Times, The Guardian and The Economist are already using the tool on their sites.

If you’re curious how Perspective functions, there is a slider on their website covering three topics: climate change, Brexit and the US election. As you slide to the left you see “healthy” comments, and as you scroll to the right, you see the most “toxic” of comments that the web giants deem severe enough for a user to leave the discussion. You can also type in your own comments and see their “toxicity” rating. Test out the tool here! Let us know your thoughts – find us at @EralisDigital.



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