Reddit acqui-hires team from content curation startup ML Oterlu • TechCrunch

Reddit announced today that it is bringing in the team from Oterlu, a startup from Gothenburg, Sweden that develops machine learning-powered content moderation tools. Oterlu’s team will join Reddit’s Security team and develop native machine learning moderation models that can quickly and accurately identify harmful content in a range of languages, Reddit says. The Oterlu team will also build new security tools for Reddit moderators.

The company says the announcement is part of its ongoing efforts to invest in and develop its internal Security team that oversees its content policy. Reddit also notes that the deal will help accelerate the scaling of Reddit’s automated security capabilities.

“The Oterlu team brings expertise in building algorithms that use natural language processing technology, artificial intelligence models and machine learning to detect nuances in unwanted behavior such as bullying, harassment and grooming,” Reddit said in a blog post. “We’re excited to welcome the Oterlu team on board to help accelerate the scale, sophistication and internationalization of Reddit’s automated security capabilities internally and for moderators.”

Oterlu was co-founded in 2019 by former Google Trust and Safety head Alexander Gee, along with Ludvig Gee and Sebastian Nabrink. The company’s four-member team, including the co-founders, will join Reddit, a spokesperson for the social network confirmed to TechCrunch.

Today’s announcement comes as Reddit has been testing new moderator tools in recent months. The company began piloting a new security feature over the summer called the “Hateful Content Filter.” The filter identifies various forms of harassment and hateful content and includes a toggle that allows moderators to set a limit within their community. Reddit also recently began testing another moderator tool called “Ban Evasion Protection” that automatically filters posts and comments of suspicious innuendo.

By adding the Oterlu team to the Security team, Reddit will be able to provide moderators on its platform with even more advanced security tools.

The announcement also follows Reddit’s recent acquisition spree. Last month, the company acquired audience framework maker Spiketrap for an undisclosed sum. Reddit said the company’s contextual analysis and AI-powered tools will help it improve in areas such as ad quality score and boost predictive models to boost automated bidding. In June, Reddit acquired MeaningCloud, a natural language processing company, for an undisclosed amount. Reddit says the company’s technology will enhance its machine learning capabilities and understanding of unstructured data to provide relevant insights to Reddit users.

In July, Reddit acquired Spell, a platform for running machine learning experiments, for an undisclosed amount. Reddit could use ML technology to improve its capabilities in several areas, such as recommendations for the newer Discover tab, as well as security work and targeted ads.

Between today’s announcement and the company’s recent acquisitions, Reddit seems to be quite focused on investing in AI and ML.

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