Microsoft acquires Two Hat, a moderation firm that assists in keeping Xbox clean
Microsoft has purchased Two Hat, a content moderation service that has assisted in keeping harmful content off Xbox. Two Hat, which was founded nearly ten years ago by a former Disney Interactive security specialist, uses artificial intelligence to classify and filter billions of human interactions across messages, images, usernames, videos, and other media. Microsoft has been working with Two Hat for several years to improve Xbox communities, but the terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.
“For the past few years, Microsoft and Two Hat have worked together to implement proactive moderation technology into gaming and non-gaming experiences to detect and remove harmful content before it ever reaches members of our communities,” explains Dave McCarthy, head of Xbox product services. “Two Hat’s technology has helped to make global communities in Xbox, Minecraft and MSN safer for users.”
The acquisition is intended to strengthen Microsoft’s first-party content moderation in gaming and may even extend to the company’s consumer services. After hiring a former Uber executive to lead a new consumer apps effort earlier this year, Microsoft has big plans for consumer services.
Microsoft has recently attempted to acquire popular communities such as TikTok, Pinterest, and Discord. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has expressed a desire for the company to focus on creators and communities, and moderation is essential in any online community-based service.
Two Hat also has its own customers, and Microsoft has no plans to stop supporting them. “This is a deep investment in assisting and serving Two Hat’s existing customers, prospective new customers and multiple product and service experiences here at Microsoft,” says McCarthy. “With this acquisition, we will help global online communities to be safer and inclusive for everyone to participate, positively contribute and thrive.”
Microsoft launched a number of text-based filters for its Xbox network three years ago, following Xbox chief Phil Spencer’s outline of a plan to combat gaming toxicity. Two Hat has been assisting with some of these Xbox moderation efforts, and Microsoft has a much larger goal of being able to filter out Xbox Live party sessions in the future, so that live audio calls can be filtered with real-time bleeps similar to broadcast TV.