New Google Chrome extension lets users filter out toxic comments

MANILA, Philippines – Alphabet subsidiary Jigsaw on Tuesday, March 12, released an experimental Google Chrome extension that uses machine learning to filter out toxic comments on social media and some specific websites.

The extension, called Tune, allows users to determine how much toxicity they want to see on their feeds online and lets them pick and choose where they want to see such toxic commentary. 

Users willl be able to "set the 'volume' of conversations on a number of popular platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and Disqus." 

Tune uses JIgsaw's Perspective machine learning technology, that spots abusive language. Previously meant to be applied within community management and writing contexts, the technology now aims to help readers instead to lessen the amount of bad stuff they have to sift through.

The company explained, "Tune lets you turn the volume of toxic comments down for 'zen mode' to skip comments completely, or turn it up to see everything  –  even the mean stuff. Or you can set the volume somewhere in between to customize the level of toxicity (e.g. attacks, insults, profanity, etc) you’re willing to see in comments.

Tune is also meant to be privacy-minded. According to the FAQ on its download page, "Comment text is sent to Perspective API for scoring then is automatically deleted after the score is returned. The initial sign-in for Tune is used to provide access to Perspective API."

The extension, the company said, isn't perfect, as it will still miss some toxic comments or flag some comments that most would consider inoffensive, but the technology is open-source and can be improved upon to lessen the toxicity one might go through when browsing the internet.  – Rappler.com

Victor Barreiro Jr.

Victor Barreiro Jr is part of Rappler's Central Desk. An avid patron of role-playing games and science fiction and fantasy shows, he also yearns to do good in the world, and hopes his work with Rappler helps to increase the good that's out there.

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