Profanity Filters for Virtual Experiences

The Benefits of Profanity Filtering for Virtual Experiences.jpg

As digital experiences continue to shape our world, offering a safe haven for people to connect in a virtual space is essential. For those building virtual and hybrid events, a profanity filter solution is an important feature.

What is a profanity filter?

A profanity filter provides an automated approach to content moderation in real time against spam, threats, and foul language on your application, experience, or platform. 

[Read more: What is chat moderation?]

The need for profanity checker apps and API

Real-time communication within user communities has grown exponentially, making it more difficult to monitor the fast-paced nature of these digital interactions as they occur. By implementing a profanity filter for your chat, you are taking precautionary actions against offensive words and inappropriate behaviors before they reach your audience. 

You are able to set up an automated word filter to remove swear words and unwanted behaviors from bad actors who are abusing your platform, so you don’t have to manually monitor activity during your virtual event. But, profanity filtering doesn’t just refer to bad words or vulgar language. It can also include images, URLs, acronyms, language choice, and references of personal information. 

In this guide, we will explore:

  • How sifting out offensive language enables a positive user experience 

  • The benefits of using a moderation tool for virtual experiences

  • How to easily implement a custom profanity filter with PubNub 

By the end, you’ll understand the value that profanity filtering offers, ensuring that developers save time and focus on delivering an engaging virtual event to your audience, rather than moderating messages. And, how it helps to ensure a safe environment where users of all ages can have a joyful virtual experience. 

How a profanity filter fuels an inclusive, engaging user experience 

With the rise of online events, real-time interaction between users is just a tap away. And, while some virtual communities have lively and humorous banter, others encounter foul language that can create a negative experience. This has led to app store regulations and platform guidelines in essentially all Virtual Spaces – requiring a profanity checker for any product or service in which children and families have access, such as social media, social experiences, gaming, and E-Learning. 

Implementing a profanity checker or customized app, such as detecting swear words and leet, a method that uses character replacements, before they are published on your online chat, enables a positive user experience where people can share without worry. This is essential for fueling online community health and keeping virtual events user-friendly for everyone. A profanity filter keeps people happy and engaged in the live experience, rather than getting caught in the pitfalls of a toxic chat. It plays a critical role in building a safe and inclusive environment, which in turn, helps to foster user retention.

Evaluating the long-term functionality of a profanity filter for streaming environments

With these interactive, fast-growing user communities, an automated profanity moderation tool for bad language and unsafe content offers a solution towards sustaining these flourishing virtual spaces. However, when choosing a profanity filtering tool, the service that accommodates your event now may actually hinder you in the long run. Which is why there are some key factors to take into consideration when it comes to long-term functionality.  

1. Limited real-time features: When creating a profanity filter for your event, real-time blocking and filtering features are not always offered. Taking into account user traffic, geographic considerations, developer time and resources, this can cause roadblocks to occur. However, when building with PubNub, you are able to create a custom dictionary of profane words to block in a virtual event setting. The Chat Message Profanity Filter Block allows you to run moderation on chat messages – detecting bad words, swear words, and profanity in any given text with the ability to censor the content in a variety of different ways. The block is triggered before a message is published on a channel, so you’ll never have to worry about manual moderation. 

2. Scalability issues: If you are expecting your community to scale, manual content moderation is an unsustainable, temporary fix. When you are building a chat for your virtual or hybrid event, you want to pick a service that makes it as easy as possible to adapt to user fluctuations at any point in time. By choosing a reliable, scalable service, it ensures that your developer can spend their time wisely: focusing their efforts on delivering your core functionality to your audience and not on moderating user messages. 

3. Profanity filter loopholes: If secure policies are not in place, there is a greater risk of exposure to bad language in your online chat. Oftentimes, people will find a way around the algorithm and end up displaying offensive language on your platform. For example, this can involve spamming the chat of a live streamed event, which can end up damaging the user experience. False positive triggers are another common problem that go hand-in-hand with this issue. False positives refer to words that have been censored or filtered out accidentally, for instance, when a place or name contains a portion of a swear word. 

When it comes to adding features to safeguard these events, the decisions you make should be able to integrate with the tech stack that your developers are using. Selecting an easy to implement, scalable solution provides you with the flexibility that you will need when building a modern chat experience for your virtual event. And with PubNub, we allow our users to create a custom dictionary, so you have full control over what passes through your platform. Fundamentally, these roadblocks can be avoided by choosing a profanity filter that can be customizable to your use case. 

When is profanity filtering useful?

From gaming to social experiences, like virtual fitness classes and concerts, in-app chat powers users to embrace these modern remote connections as they happen. Below, we will walk you through the benefits of implementing profanity filtering apps in virtual spaces. 

Foster healthy interactions through gaming with profanity filtering

When player’s interact in a competitive environment such as gaming, clashes among users are bound to occur. This could be initiated when a player comes in last on the leaderboard or enters into a heated discussion with an opponent. And in gaming, children make up a large part of the player base, which is why profanity filtering and content moderation play a key role in delivering a flawless user experience free from toxic behavior. Implementing filtration can help appeal to a broader player base, and foster a healthy gaming experience between players of any age. 

Since gamers are able to connect quickly with instant messaging and updates, a content moderation tool provides a way to automatically sift through and remove profanity and disruptive behavior from your in-game chat. When enabled, you are able to understand a player’s reputation and trigger an automated response based on past activity. 

Also, as a way of preventing spam and abusive messages, you can create a family-friendly dictionary that protects your player’s from harmful content. As mentioned previously in this guide, you can easily integrate profanity filter APIs into your chat with PubNub’s reliable Profanity Filter Block that gives you the ability to create a dictionary of bad words that are compliant and customizable. This fuels an inclusive, multiplayer experience where gamers can interact on your platform rather than external messagings apps.

Improve social experiences with little-to-no profanity filters for streaming

Beyond gaming – other social experiences like dating apps, live streamed concerts, conferences, and shared fitness classes have also redefined how we interact with one another. 

Detecting offensive words and actions in these high occupancy spaces before they occur is essential for providing a positive environment for friends, family, or new acquaintances to connect. For example, social features like location-based matching, immediate alerts and reactions, and interactive gifs are valuable features that can boost retention and growth, however they also add a new layer to filtering. With the large volume of these interactions, manual moderation is impossible. Thankfully, you can quickly enable a profanity filter API that gives you full control over content moderation with PubNub’s Two Hat Community Sift and Sift Ninja Integration. 

Two Hat’s Community Sift is an AI-powered, all-in-one content moderation service that offers customizable tools like a chat filter, username, and image and video filters. It classifies, reports, and escalates disruptive behavior for medium to enterprise-level businesses. Two Hat’s Sift Ninja integration is a powerful-yet-simple profanity filter that automatically removes profanity such as PII, vulgarity, sexting, and racism from chat and comments. 

With Sift Ninja, you can build this functionality directly into your PubNub data streams, allowing you to monitor and filter unmoderated content in your chat as the data is streamed. This blocks published messages before they reach your users. Implementing this moderation on chat messages helps keep your audience engaged with the live event instead of any inappropriate content that could be distracting. 

Drive real-time digital collaboration with profanity checkers

In addition to the above use cases, filtering foul language in virtual environments, like E-Learning spaces or collaborative work environments, adds an extra layer of security to your multi user community.

With many companies and schools operating in a fully remote environment, ensuring that people are equipped with the proper tools and applications to succeed is critical. Whether students are interacting with virtual whiteboards or in a group chat, or your team is focused on productivity with shared documents and real-time messaging, utilizing a word filter is an innovative approach that allows you to remove profane words and content from a digital collaboration setting. 

An extensive integration like the Tisane Labs NLP provides an advanced text analysis in 27 languages, while simultaneously conducting a sentiment analysis and tagging/categorization – revealing why the text is positive or negative. This optimization can be of substantial value in a remote collaboration setting where individuals are globally distributed and interacting primarily by chat platforms. It keeps your community focused on the task at hand – improving efficiency and productivity. 

As a way to seamlessly filter profanity during virtual events, PubNub provides a reliable and scalable solution through our pre-built functions and integrations with third-party services.  

Deliver a safe and scalable virtual event with PubNub’s profanity filter API and other tools

Flexible for any virtual event, our platform has no user limits, which means you can easily scale your chat for an event of any size. And with PubNub’s profanity filtering functionality and pre-built integrations, you have the control of choosing what best works for your live experience, with the option to add other features and integrations as needed. Plus, there are the added benefits of saving on costs and developer time! 

PubNub Functions provides a serverless environment that lets you easily develop and trigger filtration services directly from your applications. Our functions monitor chat messages in real time and check them against a custom dictionary of profane words created by each customer. With this, you are able to replace a portion of the text or completely block the entire message from being published—you can also block repeat offenders and spam messages or bots.  

Apart from that, if you’re looking for an additional moderating solution, our pre-built integrations with third-party services make it easy to build a fantastic chat for your virtual event. 

Two Hat’s Community Sift is an enterprise level content moderation platform with a fully customizable set of tools that classifies, filters, and escalates messages, images, videos, and usernames in real-time. 

Tisane Labs NLP detects abusive content in 27 languages, revealing why the text is positive or negative, while also providing grammar tagging. 

Neutrino: Profanity Filter identifies and censors bad words, swear words, or profanity in any given text. After a certain number of violations, you can also block a user’s IP address. 

Two Hat’s Sift Ninja is a simple profanity filter for automatically removing profanity from chat and comments.

OpenAI Moderation API helps to filter and moderate content by identifying and flagging potentially harmful or inappropriate content.

When choosing to build with PubNub, our profanity filter solutions allow developers to focus on building engaging experiences that your users will love, rather than worrying about building and maintaining backend infrastructure. 


To conclude, profanity filtering helps to ensure a safe environment where users of all ages can have an enjoyable experience without the worry of inappropriate behaviors. Additionally, PubNub’s functions and robust pre-built integrations make it easy to implement a customized content moderation solution for your virtual event. Ultimately, by enabling a profanity filter you can:

  • Automatically block and filter unwanted content 

  • Customize your chat the way you want, giving you full control

  • Allow your developers to focus on building engaging experiences, not manual moderation  

If you’re ready to develop a real-time profanity filter, get in touch with one of our experts. We’ll quickly get you up and running, so your next virtual event will run smoothly.