Two Hat, a content moderation company that uses AI to classify and filter messages, usernames, images, and videos, was acquired by Microsoft. The acquisition comes after the two companies started working together, with Microsoft thanking Two Hat for helping “make the global Xbox, Minecraft and MSN communities safer for users.”
Two Hat was founded by Chris Priebe in 2012 when the then developer left his position as Senior Application Security Officer at Disney. Before founding the company, he designed the security features for Club Penguin. Simply put, the company’s goal is to ensure that players don’t stop playing games because of negative social interactions.
“For any online community to thrive, content moderation is a critical investment in ensuring a positive user experience and maintaining engagement over time,” said Dave McCarthy, VP of Product Services for Xbox, in a post on Microsoft’s website. “Microsoft and Two Hat share a vision of leveraging advances in moderation technology to develop and protect diverse global online communities.”
The purchase of Microsoft’s Two Hat, the cost of which the company has not disclosed, comes after the tech giant’s two failed attempts to buy some of the largest community platforms on the Internet. In August 2020, Microsoft tried to buy TikTok, but the deal fell through as the two companies were unable to reach an agreement. TikTok, then fought over by Walmart and Oracle, was blocked from being sold by the Biden administration.
Likewise, Microsoft tried to acquire the Discord voice chat app in April this year for between $ 10 billion and $ 12 billion. The purchase, like the purchase of TikTok, flopped, albeit only because Discord instead sought to continue as an independent company.