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The Internet can be a place full of knowledge, discovery and wonderment — and of hate and verbal abuse. Thanks to Nikola Draca, a third-year uOttawa computer science student, a free Chrome extension — Soothe — can now shield users from hateful language online.
The extension, which relies on a database of categorized keywords to blur out passages containing offensive content, takes no more than 15 seconds to set up.
“We aren’t trying to censor the internet — so, for example, we’ve added a feature where you can click to reveal text that has been blurred out,” Draca said.
The Chrome extension is only the first step, as Draca has plans to build similar apps for other browsers. He’s now working on adding image recognition and using collected data to improve Soothe’s ability to keep up with evolving language in problematic corners of the internet.