Microsoft buys Two Hat to improve Xbox community moderation

The two are old partners when it comes to content moderation.

Aaron Souppouris / Engadget

On Friday, Microsoft announced the acquisition of Two Hat, a company best known for its AI content moderation tools. Financial details have not been disclosed, but Microsoft did share its vision for how they’ll work together moving forward. Over the years, the two companies have frequently collaborated to make Xbox Live and other gaming communities safer, and by the sounds of it, that will be the focus of Two Hat moving forward.

“We have partnered with Xbox and the Microsoft team for several years and share the passion and drive to make meaningful change in the advancement of online civility and citizenship,” said Two Hat founder Chris Priebe and CEO Steve Parkis in a joint statement. “We are committed to ensuring safety, inclusion and online health and wellness are always at the forefront of our work and through joining Microsoft, we can provide the greatest concentration of talent, resources and insight necessary to further this vision.”

Before today’s announcement, Microsoft was only one of Two Hat’s customers, and that won’t change following the acquisition. “This is a deep investment in assisting and serving Two Hat’s existing customers, prospective new customers and multiple product and service experiences here at Microsoft,” the company said. “With this acquisition, we will help global online communities to be safer and inclusive for everyone to participate, positively contribute and thrive.”

Since 2019, Microsoft has placed an emphasis on combating toxicity and abuse. "Gaming is for everyone," Xbox chief Phil Spencer said at the time. This acquisition should tie in nicely with that goal.

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