Twitter purchases machine-learning startup Whetlab

Twitter said on Wednesday it purchased a Massachusetts machine-learning startup Whetlab for an undisclosed amount.

Both companies made the announcement through a tweet on the microblogging website.

Machine learning is described as a type of artificial intelligence that gets computers to act without being explicitly programmed, paving the way for self-driving cars, speech recognition and more.

Twitter, which has been trying to crack down on online harassment, is looking at using the technology to protect users from  provocative, offensive or abusive tweets and show them more relevant content, according to a source familiar with the matter.

“If you can tell Whetlab what it means to do well on your problem, e.g., ‘I want better accuracy in face detection,’ it can automatically make these decisions for you with very little extra work. It gives you better performance than the experts could provide, and in less time,” according to a description of what the company does.

Whetlab, which is still testing its product, was founded in 2014 by researchers and assistant professors at Harvard, Toronto, and Sherbrooke universities.

Photo Credit: A sign is posted on the exterior of the Twitter headquarters on February 5, 2014 in San Francisco, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)


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