Google is helping the New York Times expands its online article comments with an advanced tool designed to fight Internet trolls.
On Tuesday, the Grey Lady launched a new system called Moderator, which will rely on machine learning developed by Jigsaw, a subsidiary of Google holding company Alphabet Google, to dramatically expand its online comment forums- while also containing the trolls.
The rollout of the technology, which Jigsaw calls perspective, means Times readers will be able to offer comments on all the top stories during east coast business hours, and all on opinion piece from Monday to Friday.
Until now, readers could only comment on about 10% of Times articles because its 14 human moderators had to park around 12,000 comments every day- that will jump to 25% since the moderators can use the artificial intelligence tools to help screen the submissions.
No comment will be automatically rejected by the algorithm; a human moderator will be required to make the final decision.
“It’s become too easy for trolls to dominate conversations online. People can either leave the conversation entirely or comments sections are being shut down. The power of machine learning offers us the opportunity to tip the scales and reverse this trend”. Jigsaw’s CEO Jared Cohen said in a statement. “This is why we built perspective, technology that puts the power of machine learning into the hands of publishers and platforms to host better discussions online”.
New agencies, including the Times and the Economist, have been experimenting with Jigsaw’s tools for month but the Times is the first to deploy it on board scale.