A New Generation of Perspective API: Efficient Multilingual Character-level Transformers

Alyssa Whitlock Lees
Yi Tay
Proceedings of the 28th ACM SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining(2022)


On the world wide web, toxic content detectors are a crucial line ofdefense against potentially hateful and offensive messages. As such,building highly effective classifiers that enable a safer internet is animportant research area. Moreover, the web is a highly multilingual,cross-cultural community that develops its own lingo over time.As such, developing models that can be effective across a diverserange of languages usages and styles is crucial. In this paper, wepresent Jigsaw Perspective API’s new generation of toxic contentclassifiers which takes a step towards this unified vision. At theheart of the approach is a single multilingual token-free Charformermodel that is applicable across languages, domains, and tasks. Wedemonstrate that by forgoing static vocabularies, we gain flexibilityacross a variety of settings. We additionally outline the techniquesemployed to make such a byte-level model efficient and feasible forproductionization. Through extensive experiments on multilingualtoxic comment classification benchmarks derived from real API traffic and evaluation on an array of code-switching, covert toxicity,emoji-based hate, human-readable obfuscation, distribution shift,and bias evaluation settings, we show that our proposed approachoutperforms strong baselines. Finally, we present our findings ofdeploying this system in production, and discuss our observedbenefits over traditional approaches