A survey commissioned by Maytag found political smears are the
most irritating topic on social media, with more than half of
Americans surveyed finding such content annoying and 73% of
respondents saying they have unfollowed, blocked or hidden posts
from another person because they didn't like the content
"We thought it would be nice to find a way to block the content
without blocking the person," Mr. Bosch said. "So things you do
like, the baby pictures or other forms of communication, come
With the desktop app, content identified as containing political
smears, using keywords identified by University of Michigan
political scientist Arthur Lupia, will be blocked with a more
politically neutral image, such as that of George Washington or a
bald eagle. Users can see when the content has been blocked and
unhide it if they choose.
Mr. Lupia worked to target negative political discourse without
bias toward any candidate or party. That involved targeting the
names of candidates and words for political issues combined with a
surprisingly wide array of "smear words," which he characterized as
"things that never elevate discourse, you never want to say in
front of your children or parents."
That includes "a lot of potty words I didn't know existed
before," he said. "People are very creative with scatological
Maytag decided to loosen the Chrome restraints sufficiently to
let less inflammatory rhetoric and news coverage through, Mr. Bosch
said. The landing page where people can download the plug-in also
leads to official candidate pages, so people who want to get
educated on the options available can. And because the plug-in
doesn't work on mobile browsers or apps, there all the political
content will remain in its unfiltered glory.
To promote the app, and the fingerprint-resistant appliances,
Maytag will use Facebook advertising and a partnership with The
Onion, plus publicity efforts by comedian spokeswoman Abby Elliot
to help raise awareness of the plug-in and promote positivity
during the election season.
Publicis Groupe's DigitasLBi and Rosetta handled digital marketing, tech
development and social media, with Omnicom's Ketchum handling PR.