Focus of acquisition of Kinzen to deliver a safer experience for Spofify’s customers around the world.
Irish start-up Kinzen – whose technology helps to identify hate speech in online communities – has been acquired by streaming giant Spotify for an undisclosed sum.
Kinzen is headed by former RTE journalist Mark Little and former journalist Aine Kerr.
“This investment expands Spotify’s approach to platform safety, and underscores how seriously we take our commitment to creating a safe and enjoyable experience for creators and users”
This is Little’s second exit, having sold his previous start-up business Storyful to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp in 2013 for €18m.
Spotify said that it began its partnership with Kinzen in 2020 and said that the Irish technology has been critical for enhancing its approach to platform safety.
It said that Kinzen’s technology is particularly suited for podcasting and audio formats, making its value to Spotify clear and unmatched. The technology combines machine learning and human expertise – backed by analysis from leading local academics and journalists –to analyse potential harmful content and hate speech in multiple languages and countries.
Keeping the digital world safe
“We’ve long had an impactful and collaborative partnership with Kinzen and its exceptional team. Now, working together as one, we’ll be able to even further improve our ability to detect and address harmful content, and importantly, in a way that better considers local context,” said Dustee Jenkins, Spotify’s global head of Public Affairs.
“This investment expands Spotify’s approach to platform safety, and underscores how seriously we take our commitment to creating a safe and enjoyable experience for creators and users.”
This is Spotify’s second Irish acquisition, having acquired Dublin music discovery platform Soundwave in 2016 for an undisclosed amount.
Spotify said that given the complexity of analysing audio content in hundreds of languages and dialects, and the challenges in effectively evaluating the nuance and intent of that content, the acquisition of Kinzen will help the audio giant better understand the abuse landscape and identify emerging threats on the platform.
“The combination of tools and expert insights is Kinzen’s unique strength that we see as essential to identifying emerging abuse trends in markets and moderating potentially dangerous content at scale,” said Sarah Hoyle, Spotify’s Head of Trust and Safety.
“This expansion of our team, combined with the launch of our Safety Advisory Council, demonstrates the proactive approach we’re taking in this important space.”
Main image: Kinzen co-founder Aine Kerr