Going online can be a stressful experience these days with offensive and hate-filled comments a littered all over the internet. Whether it is a social media troll hiding behind anonymity or some racist, sexist or transphobic fake news, unsettling and distressing content is everywhere. Well for this problem, a Canadian startup is here to help.
Soothe is a Chrome extension that will blur out content that you deem inappropriate or distressing. Using a sentiment analysis algorithm the extension allows you to select the types of language that you don’t want to see when you’re browsing the web. You can instruct Soothe to blur out language that is homophobic, racist, sexist, transphobic, violent and sexually violent.
The extension is impressive as it does not just go for offensive words; rather it assesses the sentiment of sentences. It can even work in real time, blurring out offensive language as it is posted. Users then have the chance to view the blurred out content, if they wish, or to leave it obscured from view. On the flip side, users can also add any offensive phrases that the algorithm misses
Soothe has been designed to try and help people dealing with anxiety and other mental health issues. Founders, Nikola Draca and Angus Mclean, were asked by a friend who suffered with anxiety if they knew of a tool that could filter out stressful material from the internet. There wasn’t so they set about developing Soothe.
At the moment Soothe is still only available in beta but you can get your hands on it here. Draca and McLean say that a final version should be launched soon.