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British company SMC4 has unveiled an app, SMC4 Lite, that it’s billing as the “world’s first anti-trolling software.” It promises to scan “all inbound and outgoing social media messages from the user’s Twitter account,” automatically blocking “any profanity, sexism, racism and other inappropriate language.” In other words, about 90 percent of the Internet.
“The proliferation of social media has enabled people to get closer than ever to public figures, said SCM4 chief executive Michael Veenswyk in a comment to The Telegraph about the software’s origins, “but the flipside is that it has also opened up an unwanted avenue of antisocial abusive communication towards celebrities.”
Since when has anyone in the tabloid-mad U.K. cared about celebrities’ privacy or feelings? Weird. Veenswyk said the technology could be adapted to protect children from online bullying, but so far it’s just been implemented to stamp out abuse on corporate Facebook pages—not private ones.
So: Another tool to insulate the rich and powerful, keep them out of the gutter of pseudo-thoughts in which the masses are forever doomed to wallow? Sounds like a positive force for social change. We wouldn’t want to hold brands or famous individuals accountable for their behavior, now would we? Better to cocoon the 1 percent in a version of the web that bears little relation to the genuine article—that should help them get back in touch with the plebs.
Of course, if you’re using the free version of the app (and why would you be doing that, moneybags?), SMC4 Lite will only delete the first 10 instances of incoming abuse. As if any committed troll would stop there. Good luck, harassable famous people! The rest of us will be slugging it out here in the Thunderdome.
H/T The Telegraph | Illustration by Jason Reed
Miles Klee is a novelist and web culture reporter. The former editor of the Daily Dot’s Unclick section, Klee’s essays, satire, and fiction have appeared in Lapham’s Quarterly, Vanity Fair, 3:AM, Salon, the Awl, the New York Observer, the Millions, and the Village Voice. He's the author of two odd books of fiction, 'Ivyland' and 'True False.'