Over the past year, Google has collected millions of online comments to develop Perspective. This new software aims to determine and highlight what the company calls “toxic” language from the comment sections on websites. Also, it will highlight those that are considered “healthy” and rank them accordingly as well. In coordination with Wikipedia, The New York Times and other unnamed sources, Perspective aims not to inhibit free speech but to flag comments deemed toxic hopefully leading to greater and more productive discussion.
Google offshoot, Jigsaw, is the official company behind this initiative. Though the program will still be on Google’s servers. The software is now available to the public. So now you can apply the software to your comment section and it will highlight the toxic replies. Perspective ranks the comments by how toxic they are in comparison to other toxic phrases. For example, popular term “fake news” shows up with a 47% toxic rating. This is a learning software, so it will become more accurate as time goes on.
Encouraging Intelligent Discussion
Perspective serves another purpose aside from just weeding out toxic language. The New York Times, for example, has individuals who just spend time doing what Perspective will do. Employees of the newspaper manually shift through each comment to find the offensive comments. Now, Perspective will bring to the surface the toxic comments for its human counterparts to determine the how to handle them. With Perspective’s aid The New York Times should be able to allow comments on more of their articles. The paper currently only allow comments on about 10% of their articles because manually shifting through anymore comments is too time consuming.
Critics will argue that Perspective is an infringement on free speech. The company denies this and is only striving to create and maintain intelligent conversations within a safe space.