February 7, 2013 //
At the time of writing this post, MetaCert has labeled over 655 million pages of sexually explicit content - that’s more than 32 billion URLs. For those of you in the browser, search or family safety business, it’s technically 6.5 million unique domains and sub-domains - increasing hourly. There’s a live counter where you can find the number of pages we have labeled at any given time, here. The number of pages/URLs is derived from the mass of linked data that we have collected and studied since 2010.
Protecting kids on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks
Like Norton and McAfee, we have been labeling domains and sub-domains to protect kids from unsuitable and harmful content. Our competitors focus on dozens of categories - such as religion, gambling, violence etc.. At MetaCert, we focus on doing one thing very well. We focus all our attention on labeling sites that contain ’sexually explicit content’ and as a result, we provide much better solutions for this type of content blocking - for both enterprise and consumers. I don’t mind being bullish with my assertion as they’re both multi-billion dollar companies and MetaCert is a new startup based in San Francisco.
We’re not happy with being the best however. We want to be as good as we can be. So with this in mind, we have pushed our technology to the next level by becoming the very first company worldwide, to label folders, URLs and search strings. This means that we can now protect kids from pornography across websites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social networks and sites that contain user generated content, without having to block the entire site.
While we have scaled our crawling and classification platform to label more domains and sub-domains than any other company in the world, we are now hard at work looking for the scalable solution for labeling URLs.
Unlike our domains, the number of individual URLs/profiles etc. doesn’t go into billions, yet. However, we are labeling more Facebook and Twitter profiles every day. Our goal is to work with these companies to help them create better tools for their customers to classify their own content. Even this isn’t perfect, but it’s as good as technology permits.
It’s possible to submit websites that you feel should be labeled from our site here. It’s not yet possible to submit URLs, so for now, you can propose profile pages and applications in the comments of this blog.
I read a tweet from Mary Kay Hoal earlier today that brought my attention to a blog post, warning parents about specific Facebook pages that they should be aware of. As soon as I read the post I labeled every one of the sex-related pages. These are now all blocked when using our new Chrome extension and will soon be blocked when using our iPad browser Olly and our Firefox extension (all free).
Our Chrome extension is our first consumer application to be updated with the ability to filter/block individual URLs etc. It’s free, it’s fast and it works. It now blocks more than 655 million pages of pornography plus all the individual Facebook and Twitter profile pages. Our system is cloud-based. This means that our customers don’t need to update our software to make use of the thousands of new domains/URLs being added hourly.
Please note that browser extensions generally, are most useful for kids who don’t know their way around browser software as they can sometimes disable family safety controls. Our extension is also useful for adults who either want to block pornography at all times, or if they don’t want embarrassing sites to pop up on their screen at work when opening up emails from colleagues sending ‘funny’ jokes.
No technology is a substitute for parental guidance. We should use software to help us protect kids from harmful content, but more importantly, we should educate them about how to use the Web sensibly.