Spotify acquires content moderation tech company Kinzen to address platform security issues • TechCrunch


Spotify announced this morning that it will acquire Dublin, Ireland-based content moderation technology company Kinzen, which has been partnering with the stream since 2020. The contract was not disclosed. At Spotify, Kinzen’s technology combines machine learning and human intelligence to help the company better curate podcasts and other audio — the latter of which includes analysis from local academics and journalists, the company says.

In the year Founded in 2017 by Ain Kerr, Mark Little and Paul Watson, Kinzen’s mission is focused on protecting public conversations from dangerous misinformation and harmful content, according to its website.

This area has led to Spotify’s controversy over podcaster Joe Rogan spreading misinformation related to the Covid-19 vaccine on his show, causing public backlash and a PR nightmare for the company. At one point, 270 doctors and scientists signed an open letter demanding that Spotify create false information to address the issue. The hashtag #Deletespotify was trending, and high-profile artists like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell took their music off the service in protest.

Spotify later revised its policies around Covid-19 and misinformation in early 2022, although critics and experts debate whether the actual changes will have a significant impact. This June, Spotify took better control of content published to the platform by creating a “Safety Advisory Council” to guide Spotify’s future content moderation decisions.

Today’s Kinzen acquisition announcement is an indication that even this move wasn’t enough – Spotify needed to bring content curation expertise in-house.

In short, Kinzen solutions combine technology and human expertise to help platforms respond quickly to real-time content optimization issues.

Kinzen’s suite of tools includes platforms that can help you plan ahead by getting early warnings about evolving narratives and potential misinformation threats. This includes analyzing broad areas such as medical misinformation, anti-Semitism, hate content, climate misinformation, violent extremism and other dangerous misinformation in multiple markets and languages. Provides clients with actionable insights into potential policy violations involving audio, video and text-based content. This cross-platform support is important given Spotify’s expansion into video podcasts and its desire to cater to advertisers who don’t want their brand to be placed next to toxic content.

Spotify says Kinzen will be particularly useful because of its ability to analyze content in hundreds of languages ​​and dialects, which will help the company spot emerging threats in markets.

We have had an influential and collaborative partnership with Kinzen and his unique team for a long time. Now, by working as one, we can further improve our ability to find and address harmful content, and importantly, better consider the environment,” said Dusty Jenkins, Spotify’s head of global public affairs, in a statement about the agreement. “This investment expands Spotify’s approach to platform security, and demonstrates how seriously we take our commitment to creating a safe and enjoyable experience for creators and consumers,” she added.

Sarah Hoyle, head of integrity and security at Spotify, said: “We see Kinzen’s unique strength as a combination of tools and expertise to identify emerging abuse trends in the market and to moderate potentially dangerous content.” “This expansion of our team, combined with the launch of the Security Advisory Council, demonstrates the proactive approach we are taking in this important space.”

According to data from Crunchbase, Kinzen has raised around €2.3 million in funding in 2 rounds, the last being a November 2020 seed round.

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