A new Chrome extension from Jigsaw, an Alphabet incubator that builds software to help tackle global security challenges like online harassment and digital attacks, hopes to help you ‘tune’ out abusive comments online.
Dubbed ‘Tune,’ the Chrome extension builds on the incubator’s ‘Perspective’ tech to hide toxic comments from popular websites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Reddit, as well as from comment hosting service Disqus, which runs the comments section of many online blogs and news sites, including MobileSyrup.
Users can customize Tune to hide all toxic comments — called ‘zen mode’ — or filter comments containing attacks, insults or profanity. Filtered comments are hidden, but marked with a purple dot.
However, Jigsaw says Tune’s machine learning is experimental, which means it won’t spot all forms of toxicity. It’s also likely to miss some things and could hide non-offensive comments by accident.
To help improve the tool, Jigsaw made it easy for users to provide feedback right in the tool. Feedback can help enhance the algorithms and allow Tune to hide more toxicity. One of the ways you can do this is by clicking on hidden comments. It’ll reveal the comment and ask whether Tune should hide it.
Plus, Jigsaw says Tune is entirely open source, so users can visit its Github page to learn more, explore the code and contribute to the project.
While not a perfect solution for dealing with toxicity, Tune is a start. Jigsaw hopes the tool will act as an example of how machine learning technology can empower people to participate in discussions online, instead of avoiding them for fear of harassment.
You can download Tune for free from the Chrome web store.