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Photo: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sentropy, a startup backed by Reddit co-founder Alex Ohanian, has spent much of its first year focused on helping protect digital platforms from abuse using machine learning. On Tuesday, it announced a new service aimed at helping Twitter users avoid abusive comments.

Why it matters: People, especially prominent women, people of color and LGBTQ people, encounter frequent online abuse and often have to first view inflammatory posts before they can take action, such as blocking or muting those doing the harassment.

  • "Today if you go on Twitter and are being harassed or dealing with hate speech, you have to see it to process it," says Sentropy VP of product Dev Bala. "The opportunity we are providing here is to programmatically deal with that and essentially pre-moderate the feed."

Details: Sentropy's new Protect service, now in beta, lets individuals choose to let Sentropy automatically take action on tweets or, if they prefer, simply flag potentially offensive content and let the individual decide what actions to take.

Between the lines: Sentropy CEO John Redgrave says that shortly after launching last June, the company heard from individuals wanting to see if the company’s enterprise-grade technology might also be made available to individuals. That, he said, prompted a couple months of thinking about what a consumer service could look like.

The big picture: Redgrave said that because Twitter already has tools and APIs for blocking and muting users, the platform was a natural place to start. But, he said, "The vision is not Twitter-specific. This is much bigger."

Go deeper

Twitter beats on earnings, says expenses will balloon in 2021

Twitter headquarters, San Francisco. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Twitter's stock rose to near-record highs Tuesday after beating Wall Street estimates on top and bottom lines but failing slightly to meet expectations on user growth for the quarter.

Yes, but: Overall, Twitter still posted significant user gains in 2020, which the company attributes to the "global conversation around current events and ongoing product improvements."

Dave Lawler, author of World
36 mins ago - World

Blockades and ballots: A wild day in the post-Brexit U.K.

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

British naval vessels dispatched to break a French blockade, Scottish nationalists attempting to break away from the U.K., and working class voters in the northeast breaking for the Conservatives after voting Labour for six decades.

Why it matters: That was just one day in the topsy turvy reality of post-Brexit Britain.

S.C. governor orders end to federal COVID-related unemployment benefits

Photo: Micah Green/Bloomberg via Getty Images

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) on Thursday ordered the termination of the state's participation in all federal, pandemic-related unemployment benefit programs.

Driving the news: McMaster cited labor shortages, but some experts say it's the job climate and not unemployment benefits that is determining the pace at which people are returning to work.