Microsoft looks to detect sex predators in video game chats

SEATTLE - Microsoft says it has developed a technique to detect online predators using video games to try to sexually exploit children.

The chat function in online multiplayer games is one place where predators have tried to groom children for sexual purposes. Microsoft, which makes the Xbox gaming system, says its new technology will automatically scan text-based conversations for signs of potential exploitation.

A human moderator can then review the flagged conversation and determine if it should be reported to law enforcement. Microsoft says it will start sharing the tool Friday with nonprofit organizations and other gaming and messaging service developers.