Masters of the Universe: Twitter Buys “Anti-Abuse” Technology Firm Smyte

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Twitter has reportedly purchased the anti-abuse technology software developer Smyte.

According to TechCrunch, social media network Twitter has agreed to purchase the anti-abuse technology company Smyte. Based in San Francisco, Smye describes itself as “trust and safety as a service” and aims to develop tools to prevent online abuse, harassment, and spam. Smyte was founded in 2014 by a group of former Instagram and Google engineers; now it seems that Twitter hopes to leverage their skills to crackdown on abuse on their platform, an issue that Twitter has had a hard time dealing with in recent years.

Twitter has not yet revealed the details of their deal with Smyte, but this will be the company’s first acquisition since they bought the mobile startup Yes, Inc. in December 2016. Smyte CEO Pete Hunt was previously the leader of Instagram’s web team and helped to develop the company’s business analytics products. Hunt was also a key player in turning Facebook’s React.js open source. Co-founder Josh Yudaken was also a member of Instagram’s core infrastructure team while Smyte’s second co-founder Julian Tempelsman was a key player on Gmail’s spam and abuse team and also has extensive experience working on Google Wallet’s anti-fraud team and Google Drive’s anti-abuse team.

Smyte specializes in stopping unwanted online behaviors for companies such as spam, cyberbullying, trolling and many other actions that break terms of service. Smyte can grab data from customer’s apps directly for analysis, the Smyte software then imports the sites existing user rules, uses machine learning to create new rules, and develops further learning models to promote the website or apps specific policies.

It’s very likely that Smyte will be integrated with Twitter itself and will be used to monitor and manage reports of abuse while searching for bot accounts, trolls, and threats across the social media platform. Twitter has not outlined how they plan to use Smyte’s technology but discussed the company in an announcement saying:

From ensuring safety and security at some of the world’s largest companies to specialized domain expertise, Smyte’s years of experience with these issues brings valuable insight to our team. The Smyte team has dealt with many unique issues facing online safety and believes in the same proactive approach that we’re taking for Twitter: stopping abusive behavior before it impacts anyone’s experience. We can’t wait until they join our team to help us make changes that will further improve the health of the public conversation.

Smyte is currently being used by a number of other online platforms such as Indiegogo, GoFundMe, Musical.ly, TaskRabbit, Meetup, OLX, ThredUp, YouNow, 99 Designs, and Zendesk. According to Twitter, Smyte will begin cutting off service to these customers as the company did not purchase Smyte to generate revenue, but rather to gain access to their software.

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