Microsoft Launches Tool to Report Hate Speech on Its Services
A new online form enables users to report threatening or abusive content found on its online communities and services.Microsoft has launched a new tool that alerts the Redmond, Wash., software giant when its users encounter hate speech on its consumer online services. A dedicated web form now allows users of the company's Skype, Xbox Live and other services to report the offending content. "Without question, the internet is overwhelmingly a force for good. We strive to provide services that are trustworthy, inclusive and used responsibly. Unfortunately, we know these services can also be used to advocate and perpetuate hate, prejudice and abuse," wrote Jacqueline Beauchere, Microsoft's chief online safety officer, in a blog post. "As part of our commitment to human rights, we seek to respect the broad range of users' fundamental rights, including the rights to free expression and access to information, without fear of encountering hate speech or abuse." When a report is filed, staffers will evaluate the complaint, taking into consideration the context of the alleged hate speech and take action accordingly, said Beauchere. As a rule, the company said it blocks content that advocates hatred and violence on the basis of age, disability, gender, ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity. "Please note that not all content that you may find offensive is considered hate speech and, in reviewing your report, Microsoft may choose to take no action," Beauchere cautioned.