If there is one thing most website owners agree upon, it is that children should be protected from profanity and inappropriate content. However, this is almost never an easy thing to successfully do, since manually sorting through forum posts or comments for inappropriate videos, pictures, or words is simply too difficult.
Even with their flaws, profanity filters are now becoming popular on many websites, with large organizations such as Google attempting to use them in order to keep certain sections of their products free from inappropriate content.
Text-based profanity filters are probably the most common on websites, and tend to protect against swear words or other content deemed inappropriate such as phrases that are sexually explicit.
These filters tend to cause issues and have been doing so since they became popular on early forums and chat rooms. Web-masters used to implement a filter, fill out all the words that were “inappropriate” and then use it to try and prevent people from using those words or phrases. Despite this being effective for single words, people could circumvent the system by tweaking the spelling of something or using metaphors.
Online today, there are very few chat-based websites that do not have a profanity filter, for example, Twitch.tv (the largest video game streaming site) allows channel creators to manually insert words that are not allowed in the chat section.
For most people, manually coming up with words to ban is not enough, which is where newer services such as WebPurify come into play. WebPurify is capable of “reading between the lines” and filtering out phrases that are inappropriate but would normally not be detected by a profanity filter.
Taking It Up A Notch: Media Moderation
Going through text is hard enough, but sitting down and moderating the content of images, and especially videos is even more difficult. While many website owners do try to protect their readers from inappropriate text, they tend to give up when it comes to pictures or videos, and rightfully so. That being said. There are some services that offer video moderation, and while it may not be “automatic”, these services outsource the moderation of videos and images instead of making web-masters do it themselves.
One of the most popular media filter services, once again comes from WebPurify. WebPurify’s media moderation is already used by the USO and Legal Zoom since they are relatively effective in protecting against nudity, violence, and other inappropriate themes in images and videos.Without a doubt, this is great for parents who are concerned that their young children may be exposed to swears, nudity, violence, etc but it also makes the job of website owners a whole lot easier.
The one major issue with these filters is that they are not perfect. While they work well, and there are many great things that have been said about companies such as WebPurify, there will always be a phrase, image, or video that simply slips past the filter. So, if you are trying to run a 100% child-safe website, then manual moderation is the best option, otherwise these types of automatic filter systems are great.