In an age where social media has become a second home for many, the thoughts and pictures that make up a timeline can say more about a person than desired. Computer Engineering student Joel Simonoff has created an app to help clean things up.
Simonoff’s creation, Social Filter, scans your Facebook and Twitter posts and alerts you of any questionable material. Currently in the beta stage of testing, Social Filter has three warning levels for posts with inappropriate and unprofessional content.
“I first got Facebook in 2008 when I was in fifth grade,” Simonoff said. “I posted some things a fifth grader might post that I later found with this tool.”
Simonoff, 19, began programming during his junior year of high school, learning as many different languages as possible. While still in high school, he began an internship at Not Impossible Labs, a tech company that focuses on reengineering high-cost medical equipment for lesser developed countries.
One of the projects Simonoff worked on at Not Impossible was an exoskeleton for children suffering from cerebral palsy.
“I worked on it for almost 20 months,” Simonoff said. “I was doing a lot of the hands-on building, programming, circuit design. We took off the shelf components, tried to build it in a less manufactured way.”
According to Simonoff, the project is still in development. He is involved, but not hands-on at the moment, but there is talk of bringing him back in to look at things.
It was also in his time at Not Impossible that he met Matthew Vavricek, who he would create Social Filter with.
According to Vavricek, he was brought onto the project at Not Impossible in late July of 2014 when Simonoff was looking for dedicated programmers. After their time on the project concluded, the two decided to continue working together.
“We understand how each other works,” Vavricek said. “We think the same way. We may disagree on the minute details, but we see the overall picture the same.”
Simonoff was the co-president of the MakerSpace Club last fall and spring semesters and a key factor in its creation, according to Paul Macander, Simonoff’s fellow co-president.
Macander met Simonoff a year and a half ago when they began the task of creating a space where students from all fields could work together on projects.
“He’s a smart, forward thinking young man,” Macander said. “He had a lot of ideas and experience already. We made a great team.”
Simonoff has a few aspirations for his time after Pierce. He’s waiting to hear back from his transfer options like UC Berkeley, and of course hopes that Social Filter can be a sustainable company for him to run. Simonoff has always wanted to work for a company that makes integrated circuits or just, as he says, ‘cool companies that do cool things.’
“There are so many things that are done now that are really fun,” Simonoff said. “I don’t know if I would be able to pick one now or know where I’ll end up.”
Despite other projects and mapping out his future, Simonoff’s main focus is Social Filter.
“That’s where I’ve put in a lot of time, money and effort,” Simonoff said. “I haven’t worked. I haven’t gotten a paycheck in a long time so it’s important to get that going.”
According to CareerBuilder, 60 percent of employers use social media sites to research candidates, and over a quarter of them have used sites to reprimand, or even fire, existing employees.
The beta version of Social Filter is free and open to the public at www.yoursocialfilter.com using the invitation code: PIERCE.