Profanity Filters: Everything You Need to Know + Our Top 5 Picks (2023)

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Profanity Filters: Summary

Profanity filters can make it easy for children to enjoy content on the web without being exposed to harmful or profane content. Profanity filters also offer moderation for adults that want to protect themselves from harassment or abusive content.

Profanity filters help improve the internet by eliminating or replacing offensive words. They’re used with great success in gaming, streaming, social networks, and even online dating. Some of the best tools for profanity filtering include:

  1. Enjoy Movies Your Way: a free browser extension and app for Roku, mobile devices, and smart TVs
  2. VidAngel: a paid profanity filter for streaming
  3. ClearPlay: a paid streaming moderation service
  4. Advanced Profanity Filter: free browser plugin for Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge
  5. Stream Clean: free and easy-to-use filter for Google Chrome

However, profanity filters have several limitations. Read our full article below to know about them and how to use them on your devices, social media, and streaming sites.

But profanity filters aren’t perfect. If you want to find out more about what they get right, and where they fall short, read our entire article below.

The internet can be an unfriendly and distasteful place. Social media platforms, forums, and streaming sites alike have lots of profane content or adult language. Profanity filters can help protect users from exposure to such language.

In the following article, we are going to talk about what profanity filters are, how to activate them on popular social media networks, and talk about some of the best profanity filters available, including their key benefits and limitations.

What is a Profanity Filter?

Profanity Filters: Everything You Need to Know + Our Top 5 Picks (1)Profanity filters are essentially filters that utilize algorithms to censor offensive words, swear or cuss words, or other forms of bad language.

They usually have a long list of profane words. Whenever these words are used by members of a community or displayed in a motion picture, the algorithm automatically substitutes them with synonyms, replaces them with symbols, or mutes that section of the audio.

Some platforms filter profanity by default. An example of this is multiplayer games. Chatting in-game, or in the lobby before a game, is an integral part of the multiplayer experience.

But when you gather hundreds of thousands of people in the same place, you can expect a few people to use unpleasant words or harass other players. That’s why profanity filtering is automatically activated for game chats.Because such games cater to a larger age demographic, profanity needs to be filtered actively.

In other cases, you can enable profanity filtering yourself. For example, Facebook and Instagram both have profanity filters you can turn on if you want to protect your page from offensive comments.

How to Activate a Profanity Filter on Facebook or Instagram

A lot of the platforms we use on a daily basis have built-in swear filters. Facebook and Instagram are good examples. Not to mention, some even grant you a degree of customizability. People can add their own words to the deny list of the filter.

And for the platforms that don’t have their own profanity filter, applications like ClearPlay or VidAngel (more on these below) can provide the censorship families need in order to enjoy online content or social networks.


Profanity Filters: Everything You Need to Know + Our Top 5 Picks (2)Unfortunately, Facebook doesn’t have a profanity filter that parents can unlock to protect their children online from all profane content site-wide.

However, Facebook has a profanity filter for pages. So if you are running a page on Facebook, you can censor the language your followers can use.

Here’s how you can activate the Facebook profanity filter:

Make sure you’re interacting on Facebook as your page. You can usually do this by simply opening the page.

  1. Click on “Settings” in the left-side tab.
  2. Scroll down to “Profanity Filter.”
  3. Profanity Filters: Everything You Need to Know + Our Top 5 Picks (3)
  4. Click on “Edit.”
  5. Tick the check mark.
  6. Press “Save.”

This will enable a profanity filter based on the words most often reported by the Facebook community. Unfortunately, it doesn’t let users customize the list of censored words. And as mentioned, it only works for pages, not personal accounts.


Profanity Filters: Everything You Need to Know + Our Top 5 Picks (4)Instagram’s profanity filter is more advanced. You can turn it for business, or personal accounts, and you can customize the words you want it to censor.

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This is a wonderful tool for Instagram users, especially since the platform is more focused. To turn on Instagram’s profanity filter, here’s what you’ll have to do:

  1. Open your profile.
  2. Click on the three horizontal lines in the top-right corner.
  3. Open “Settings.”They’re at the top of the list.
  4. Go to “Privacy.”
  5. Click on “Hidden Words.”This will open a menu with a lot of options for profanity filtering.

Instagram’s default deny list is also based on community feedback. But users can always add their own words to this list and have that hidden from them and their followers.

Instagram turns on the basic profanity filter by default. However, users can enable a more rigorous version of it, or add custom words if they so choose.

But there are a lot of providers that don’t feature a built-in content moderation tool, especially streaming platforms. In that case, third-party apps can ensure a family-friendly user experience.

The Five Best Profanity Filters

Profanity Filters: Everything You Need to Know + Our Top 5 Picks (5)When it comes to general browsing or streaming, there are several third-party profanity filters that you can use to filter out unwanted language on the web. Here are the 5 best options you can choose from.

1. Enjoy Movies Your Way

Profanity Filters: Everything You Need to Know + Our Top 5 Picks (6)

True to its name, Enjoy Movies Your Way is an app that lets you enjoy family-friendly entertainment by filtering out inappropriate content. It’s available for a wide range of platforms, including Android, iOS, Roku, and Amazon Fire devices.

This means it’s the best profanity filter for your Android smart TV or Roku. At the same time, it’s compatible with most popular streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, and others.

This app lets you set up one or more profiles where you can control the profanity filters for any movie or tv show you want to watch. Moreover, it includes lots of other helpful features such as automatic picture quality enhancement, translation of subtitles into over 100 languages, customizable font, size and color of subtitles, and more.

The best part is that the basic version is absolutely free though it includes periodic intermissions when you’re watching. The full version too is quite affordable at just $6.00 per month.

On the whole, it’s a great tool to have if you enjoy streaming content on multiple devices and would like to filter out profanity.

2. VidAngel

Profanity Filters: Everything You Need to Know + Our Top 5 Picks (7)

VidAngel is another great profanity filter that works on various devices, such as an iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Android, Android TV, Chromecast, and Fire TV. Unfortunately, it no longer supports Roku.

You can connect it and use it with all streaming services such as Netflix, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, and others.

VidAngel can filter entire categories such as media that includes sex, violence, or adult language. Or, you can target sub-categories, like graphic violence. It also lets you filter specific elements, such as specific words or certain scenes.

Unfortunately, it’s not a free service and costs$9.99 each month.However, its capabilities make it worth the money if you consume media on compatible devices. While it works on a wide range of devices, there’s no general app for smart TVs such as Samsung or LG.

3. ClearPlay

Profanity Filters: Everything You Need to Know + Our Top 5 Picks (8)

ClearPlay is an advanced profanity filter, built primarily for streaming. Its creators partnered with streaming platforms like Netflix or Disney+ to create a more robust and comprehensive filtering system.

However, ClearPlay isn’t free. It offers a free trial, and after that, it costs $7.99/month. The distinction is that they provide manual censorship for each individual show or movie. Before streaming something, ClearPlay users can choose what they want to filter from that specific movie too.

They can also choose to skip, replace, or mute offensive and profane sections. ClearPlay supports the big platforms for streaming – Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, and HBO Max.

However, they don’t censor the entire library, since each video is manually censored. You can check the supported movies and shows on ClearPlay’s website. This is ideal for family users. For instance, dedicated filters are available for popular titles like HamiltonorMulanon Disney+.

4. Advanced Profanity Filter

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Advanced Profanity Filter is a browser extension that works with Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge. It has an outdated interface but is completely free to use and quite reliable. It censors any form of online communication, whether that’s text on Twitter, or audio while streaming.

Here are some of its features:

(Video) ALexa said a bad word

  • You can select the filter method: censorship, substitution, or removal.
  • You can see a summary of the filtering process.
  • You can add words or phrases to the filter.

Advanced Profanity Filter also mutes the audio, and censors the subtitles of content you stream. This makes it a brilliant choice to enjoy online media with your family. It’s also compatible with a lot of online services, including Disney+, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Crackle, HBO Max, Peacock, YouTube, and more.

However, Advanced Profanity Filter has some limitations while streaming: it does not index individual media productions but analyzes the subtitles of each show or movie you watch.

So if any profane word comes up in the subtitle, it will be censored. But if the audio doesn’t match the subtitles well, this plugin won’t be able to mute the content at the right time.

5. Stream Clean

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Stream Clean is another nifty Chrome extension that filters profanity and other user-defined words on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Disney+, and other popular streaming services.

It analyzes closed captions to filter adult language and other user-defined words in video content. The minimalist interface makes it super easy to set up and use, which makes it great for almost any user.

Stream Clean is free to use, and while it might skip some words now and then, it’s still pretty reliable. More importantly, the developer behind the extension is very responsive to feedback.

How to Add Profanity Filters to Your Smart TV

Profanity Filters: Everything You Need to Know + Our Top 5 Picks (11)As mentioned above, there are two profanity filters apps which work on Android/Google Smart TVs:

However, these do not work on generic smart TVs that don’t have access to the Google Play Store. As an alternative, you can try the options below for adding profanity filters to your TV:

  • Check your TV’s user manual to see if it has any built-in profanity filtering or parental control options. For instance, Samsung TVs have settings that let you block programs by rating or lock certain apps with a PIN so that children cannot access them.
  • If you’re not streaming content and want a profanity filter for regular content on cable TV, try out a TV Guardian device. This is a piece of hardware that connects to your TV and mutes any phrases with foul language.
  • Many streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and HBO Max include built-in parental controls that let you set a PIN to restrict movies and TV shows based on their rating.

The Benefits of Profanity Filters

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Profanity filters help create a more respectful, family-friendly, and inclusive internet experience. They’re not foolproof protection against discrimination and offensive content. But they’re an integral part of content moderation.

Muting swear words

Streaming is one area where filtering profanity can enable a family-friendly experience. Third-party software can mute audio whenever swear words come up, grey out subtitles, and even skip entire sections that are not safe for children.

Removing profanity from multiplayer games

Multiplayer video games also benefit a lot from profanity filters. Gaming and toxicity have a very complicated relationship, which especially comes to light in multiplayer interactions.

Profanity filters don’t solve the problem entirely, but they help remove some of the negativity. If you want to know more about protecting your children while they’re gaming, read our articles on Roblox and Minecraft.

Filtering profanity on social media

Social platforms aren’t free of toxicity either. Quite the opposite. Cyberbullying is a worrying problem in the 21st century, and a lot of it is taking place on social media. Profanity filters can help mitigate some of the negative impacts of cyberbullying and create safer spaces.

Filtering hate-filled comments

Dating sites also use profanity filters. They are extremely important to protect disadvantaged minorities, like members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Again, profanity filters aren’t the end-all-be-all solution many make them out to be. But they’re a reliable way to cut down on profane content, allowing people to enjoy the internet. And they complement other content moderation tools really well.

The Limitations of Profanity Filtering

Profanity Filters: Everything You Need to Know + Our Top 5 Picks (13)Profanity filters have a lot of benefits, but they also have a few limitations. Here are a few.

Not always reliable in online communities

People can circumvent filters in online communities. They usually do this by using the synonyms of swear words or alternate spelling.

Online users can still offend their peers with subtle statements that ignore any deny list of words. So while offensive language is limited, a simple profanity filter is never the only content moderation tool that you should use.

Not very effective against online harassment

A profanity filter doesn’t stop online harassment. Rather, it acts as a barrier between the most blatant forms of abuse and their victims.

More advanced filters that use AI to analyze user interactions will provide a better user experience in the future. But right now, they’re not readily available. Companies still need to rely on traditional content moderation tools.

If you need features other than profanity filtering, you may need to get a parental control app. These robust solutions include features like website blocking, social media monitoring, location tracking, and more.

Parental Control Options: Do They Help?

Profanity Filters: Everything You Need to Know + Our Top 5 Picks (14)Most modern devices include parental control options such as Apple’s Screen Time. Additionally, you can use third-party parental control apps such as Kaspersky Safe Kids to prevent children from accessing inappropriate content.

(Video) Hacking a weird TV censoring device

At the same time, major streaming services include their own parental controls that can limit the content accessible by younger viewers. While all these controls are effective to an extent, they do not provide a complete solution because they simply block off all inappropriate content.

For parents who want to give their children access to more content, but limit the graphic or vulgar parts of it, external profanity filters like the ones discussed in this article can be quite handy.

Further, there are several other ways to keep children safe online. If you want to find out more about this, check out our Kids Online section.

Profanity Filters: Frequently Asked Questions

If our article didn’t answer all of your questions about profanity filters, feel free to check the FAQ section below.

What is a profanity filter?

A profanity filter is a software, or algorithm from a software, thatcensors swear words and other sensitive content. Most often, profanity filters have a “deny” list of words that they’ll censor. Some of them allow users to add their own words to a deny list.

Does Roku have a profanity filter?

Roku doesn’t have its own profanity filter. However, there are some third-party profanity filters that you can use on Roku. We recommend Enjoy Movies Your Way which works perfectly with Roku to give you family-friendly entertainment.

Is there a profanity filter on Netflix?

Netflix doesn’t have its own profanity filter. However, tools like ClearPlay, VidAngel, or Advanced Profanity Filter all have support for Netflix. Netflix also has its own parental controls that can prevent younger viewers from seeing inappropriate content.

Does Amazon have a profanity filter?

Amazon Prime doesn’t have a profanity filter of its own. However, users can install third-party software to ensure a family-friendly experience while on the platform. Some examples are ClearPlay, VidAngel, and Enjoy Movies Your Way.

What is the best movie filtering service?

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Enjoy Movies Your Way and VidAngel are both fantastic movie-filtering services. They are both available on Android/Google TV, Fire TV and mobile devices such as Android, iPhone, and iPad. However, Enjoy Movies Your Way has an edge as its free to use and also supports Roku.

How much is ClearPlay per month?

ClearPlay is $7.99 per month. The first month of use is free, however, so parents can try it before committing to a monthly subscription plan.

Can you use a profanity filter and a VPN together?

You can use a profanity filter together with a VPN with no issues. Profanity filters don’t interrupt network settings or a VPN’s activity.

How do you add words to a profanity filter?

The specific processdepends on the profanity filter you use. Some don’t let users add their own words to the deny list. However, in most cases, you’ll need to open the settings of an app, or of a third-party profanity filter. If it lets you add words to the profanity filter, you’ll find an option for it there.

Profanity Filters: Everything You Need to Know + Our Top 5 Picks (15)

Theodor Porutiu

Tech writer

Theodor is a content writer passionate about the newest tech developments and content marketing strategies. He likes privacy-friendly software, SEO tools, and when he’s not writing, he’s trying to convince people they should uninstall TikTok.

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