May 19, 2022

BBC Experiments With Negative News Filters on its Homepage to Help Readers with Anxieties


Would you filter out bad news if you could?

This is the question that Alicia Grandjean, software engineer at BBC and Tim Cowlishaw, senior software engineer at BBC R&D, wanted the audience to answer.

The developers got this idea when a colleague organised an office mental health day to make the team think about the impact technology has on well-being.

“We knew from other research that many young people are turning away from news because it was affecting their mental health,” said Grandjean.


The web browser extension can remember all trigger words added by a user and blurs out sensitive content every time they visit the homepage. They have the option to unmute it and read the article at any time.

The developers see the limitations of such approach. For example, editorial judgement is needed to see how a topic is reported on.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.