Twitter has acquired Smyte, a San Francisco-based startup that develops anti-abuse technology. The company announced it’s buying Smyte, but didn’t disclose terms of the deal. This could be an effort to further bolster its act against the spread of online harassment on the platform.
Smyte was found by former Google and Instagram engineers in 2014 and describes itself as “trust and safety as a service.” This is the first acquisition by Twitter since it bought Yes Inc, a consumer mobile startup in December of 2016. Social media platforms have been taking a number of steps to curb online harassment and it has been a great concern particularly for Twitter. The company has attempted to control the problem with new policies that instantly take down posts with hate speech, violent threats and harassment on its platform.
However, the micro-blogging platform has not been successful in eliminating the problem altogether. The platform is filled with troll army, bots and scam sites that unleash messages with hate speech and harass particular users. Twitter believes Smyte’s technology can help curb the spread of such online harassment on its platform. The company is co-founded by engineers who have backgrounds in spam, fraud and security.
The startup launched out of Y Combinator in 2015 and focused on preventing online fraud, reports TechCrunch. The company claims its technology is capable of restricting unwanted online behavior including phishing, spam, fake accounts, cyberbullying, hate speech and trolling. It offers access to its technology via a REST API and can pull data directly from the customer’s app for analysis.
With Smyte, Twitter will likely integrate it directly within its platform to monitor and manage reports of abuse. The service can also help take down bots, scammer and a number of troll accounts from the platform. Twitter is making its plans clear by shutting down access to Smyte’s API for existing clients, who were using it as an anti-fraud tool.
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Smyte is believed to have around 19 employees and had raised around $6.3 million in funding. It is not clear what was Twitter’s buyout offer and it plans to find positions for all of Smyte’s existing employees.