Microsoft has bought Two Hat, a content filtering company that has helped Xbox users avoid hazardous content. Two Hat, founded by a former Disney Interactive security specialist over ten years ago, employs artificial intelligence to analyze and filter billions of human interactions across messages, photos, usernames, videos, and more. Microsoft has been collaborating with Two Hat for a few years to strengthen its Xbox communities, but the specifics of the agreement have not been made public.
“For the past several years, Microsoft and Two Hat have collaborated to integrate proactive moderation technologies into gaming and non-gaming experiences in order to detect and remove dangerous content before it reaches members of our communities,” says Dave McCarthy, Xbox product services director. “Through the usage of Two Hat’s technology, worldwide communities in Xbox, Minecraft, and MSN have become safer for consumers.”
The purchase will help Microsoft strengthen its first-party content filtering in games, as well as its consumer services. After recruiting a former Uber executive to manage a new consumer applications project earlier this year, Microsoft has huge hopes for consumer services.
Microsoft has been attempting to purchase popular communities such as TikTok, Pinterest, and Discord in recent months. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has declared a desire for the company to focus on creators and communities, and moderation is an important aspect of any online community-based business.
Two Hat has a handful of clients of its own, and Microsoft has no plans to abandon them. McCarthy adds, “This is a significant commitment in aiding and servicing Two Hat’s existing customers, potential new customers, and numerous product and service experiences here at Microsoft.” “With this purchase, we will make global online communities safer and more inclusive, allowing everyone to engage, contribute productively, and thrive.”
After Xbox executive Phil Spencer detailed a plan for combating toxicity in gaming three years ago, Microsoft deployed a series of text-based filters for its Xbox network. Two Hat has been aiding with some of these Xbox moderation initiatives, and Microsoft’s long-term objective is to be able to filter out Xbox Live party sessions in the future, so live audio calls may be filtered with real-time bleeps similar to broadcast TV.