Microsoft goes deeper into content moderation with Two Hat acquisition

(Two Hat Image)

Microsoft has acquired Two Hat, a content moderation technology company started in 2012 by a former Disney Interactive application security specialist, Chris Priebe, who saw an opportunity to use artificial intelligence to reduce cyberbullying and other forms of online harassment.

Two Hat Founder and CEO Chris Priebe. (LinkedIn Photo)

Two Hat, based in Kelowna, B.C., already partners with Xbox and MSN, and that’s expected to continue, but the companies are signaling plans to apply its technology to a broader set of Microsoft experiences.

The potential for malicious user-generated content and online interactions to cause harm to individuals and communities has been in the spotlight in recent weeks due to a series of revelations about Facebook’s own knowledge about the sometimes harmful and unhealthy impact of its algorithms on its users.

“We have partnered with Xbox and the Microsoft team for several years and share the passion and drive to make meaningful change in the advancement of online civility and citizenship,” wrote Priebe, the Two Hat founder and CEO, in a post about the acquisition Friday morning.

Two Hat’s technology will be applied to “a broad range of Microsoft consumer services,” said Dave McCarthy, corporate vice president of Xbox Product Services, in a post announcing the deal Friday morning. It will also be available to Microsoft partners and continue to be available to Two Hat’s customers.

Financial terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed. Two Hat employs more than 60 people and has raised more than $9 million in total funding, according to venture capital database PitchBook.

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Microsoft Acquisition Two hat