Google’s sister company, Jigsaw has come up with a browser plug in/extension for the Chrome browser. While some of Google’s (Alphabet, to be specific) more wacky experiments involve spreading the internet via balloon, this latest project just tries to rid the world of jerks online.
The Chrome extension is called Tune, and it uses Artificial Intelligence to automatically moderate comments according to your preferences and theoretically leaving the comment section as a respectful place of debate. Tune works across the most popular sites you’d typically find horrible comments, like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and comment platform Disqus.
How it works
The default settings, dubbed Toxicity, gets rid of all comments “likely to make people leave a discussion”. You can also switch over to a filter mix and toggle on/off whether Tune should get rid of “attack on identity”, “insult”, “profanity”, “threat”, or “sexually explicit” related-comments. There’s also a “Zen mode” that disables comments and “volume levels” ranging from “quiet” to “blaring”.
The volume levels let you adjust the level of toxicity you want to see. The goal is not to create a family-friendly web (though that is an added perk if you want to shield your kids online), but rather, to help you better “focus on what matters”.
To do all this analysis, of course, the comments have to first be uploaded to Google’s servers, which may feel like a small invasion of privacy. But lets assume that Jigsaw (or rather Google) has no interest in your internet comments, and will delete them as soon as they’ve been assessed of their toxicity.
Tune is currently in use by The New York Times and The Guardian to moderate comments and improve online discussions. If you try it, you will notice filtered comments appear as a dot, which can be clicked on to show the hidden comment. However, Jigsaw warned that Tune is an experiment that doesn’t always accurately filter comments – hence it’s “experimental” label.
Where to get it
If you want the extension, just install it from here, sign into your Google account, and choose sites to filter.