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In a nutshell: Sometimes online communication platforms can get toxic, especially if you have a room full of 13-year-olds on a gaming-focused channel. Discord just purchased a company specializing in AI that detects abusive chat and offers filters and blocking functions. The acquisition should provide moderators with helpful tools and increase the company's value for a potential IPO.
Discord may soon be getting new tools to help moderators monitor and curb online harassment. The communications platform has merged with Sentropy Technologies, a company specializing in making AI that detects abusive messages.
Sentropy already has natural language processing software called Sentropy Protect that uses machine learning to detect hateful messages. TechCrunch notes the company deployed the consumer product on Twitter in February, with plans to branch out to other social media sites. It also has two enterprise products—Sentropy Detect and Sentropy Defend—which provide detection APIs and a browser interface.
We’re thrilled to announce that Sentropy is joining Discord to continue the fight against hate & abuse online! Our missions are deeply complementary & together we can create belonging, safely. Thank you to everyone who supported us on our journey. https://t.co/zlfxD8nw0u— Sentropy Technologies (@sentropy) July 13, 2021
The company announced it would be "winding down" its consumer and enterprise operations to focus on working with Discord to "expand and evolve its Trust and Safety capabilities." Sentropy officially shuttered its consumer-based Protect product on July 1. Enterprise customers can expect to have Detect and Defend services running through the end of September. The company promised to provide support to its customers during its transition.
Discord (download here) has over 19 million communities with more than 150 million monthly active users. Pairing with a company that can provide easy-to-use moderation tools will significantly help the platform's moderators, which primarily consist of community volunteers and a hand full of Discord staffers.
The acquisition comes as a bit of a surprise considering Microsoft was in talks to take over Discord. However, negotiations fizzled, and Discord pulled out of the potential deal. It reportedly had other offers on the table, but nothing has surfaced indicating it is considering any of them.
Some reports suggested that Discord is considering an initial public offering (IPO). That would explain why buyout talks failed, as well as its Sentropy acquisition. The services and software it provides should increase Discord's valuation in an eventual IPO.