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Already huge in China, Tuputech pitches its AI that identifies porn and violence stateside

Already huge in China, Tuputech pitches its AI that identifies porn and violence stateside
From TechCrunch - October 5, 2017

Social media platforms have a content problem.

This isnt about the fact that last year they became (hopefully) unwitting shills for foreign governments trying to sway the outcome of our national elections.

Thats definitely a major (and potentially existential) threat to social media businesses, but so is a more lingering, and equally as pervasive problem websites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have with violent and pornographic imagery popping up in their feeds.

Three years ago in Wired, Adrian Chen wrote a great piece about the poor souls who work for these billion-dollar companies out of linoleum-tiled offices in the Philippinesfar from the glittering campuses of Silicon Valley or the high-tech office towers in San Franciscowhose job it is to keep dick pics and beheadings from reaching the screen of your preferred internet consumption device.

Well, its not just an American problem.

In China, where content laws are far more restrictive and penalties for defying government proscriptions on content are far more severe, new social media giants and telecom providers likeMusical.ly, Live.me, China Mobile Communications, Thunder and China Unicom have moved away from employing human censors to deploying a technology from the young Guangzhou-based startup Tuputech.

Launched just three years ago by one of the co-founders of Chinas wildly successful WeChat messenger service, Tuputech has already amassed a group of customers in China whose combined reach is larger than the entire population of the U.S.

Interacting with a brand or social site online should be enjoyable. We shouldnt have to worry about offensive content popping up, said Leonard Mingqiang, founder of Tuputech (and a former founding member of WeChat). Our technology acts fast to detect inappropriate content and help our clients remove it before it enters the online environment.

Its not surprising that any social media company would look to automate as much of the process as possibleindeed, Facebook and others already use their own content management tools in addition to the human censors that regulate news feedsbut in China, where the government is far more restrictive of free speech, tools like Tuputechs are a necessity.

The company boasts some staggering numbers. Its software analyzes 900 million images daily and processes 50 images per second, identifying pornography or violent images with a 99.5 percent accuracy rate.

Its that 0.5 percent that can be problematic for Western companies. In China, theres little more than lip service paid to the right to free speech.In reality, there are no protections for free speech and therefore the companies that censor their communities dont face any reprisal or censure from the users theyre censoring.

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