Microsoft pledges to remove terrorist content from its online services

Microsoft announced today that it will amend its terms of use to prohibit the posting of terrorist content on its consumer online services. It will also remove any terrorist-related content when it is brought to its attention.

In a blog post (opens in new tab), Microsoft stated:

There is no universally accepted definition of terrorist content. For purposes of our services, we will consider terrorist content to be material posted by or in support of organizations included on the Consolidated United Nations Security Council Sanctions List that depicts graphic violence, encourages violent action, endorses a terrorist organization or its acts, or encourages people to join such groups. The U.N. Sanctions List includes a list of groups that the U.N. Security Council considers to be terrorist organizations.

Microsoft also stated how it will handle terrorist-related content displayed in its Bing search engine:

In the context of a tool for accessing information, we believe that societies, acting through their governments, ought to draw the line between free speech and limitations relating to particular types of content. Therefore, we will remove links to terrorist-related content from Bing only when that takedown is required of search providers under local law. (We are already operating this way in France, for example, where we are routinely provided by the police authority with links to terrorist-related content that is unlawful there.) We do believe, however, that we can help users make informed choices when they may be exposed to information that may cause them significant harm, including terrorist content. Therefore, we are exploring new partnerships with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to display public service announcements with links to positive messaging and alternative narratives for some search queries for terrorist material. We're hopeful that these upcoming collaborations will help protect troubled individuals from heading down a path toward violence.

In addition, the company is providing funding and technical support to Professor Hany Farid of Dartmouth College for his project that's designed to identify online terrorist content:

The goal is to help curb the spread of known terrorist material with a technology that can accurately and proactively scan and flag public content that contains known terrorist images, video and audio.

35 Comments
  • Right, so now the Zionist are taking it further to hide the truth from search results and calling it "hiding terrorist results"...search engines shouldn't hide ANY results unless decided by the user, this move is stupid. Posted from my Surface Pro 2
  • Terrorist comment, should be removed LOL
  • Lol, I'd imagine you'll have a hard time finding this post with Bing... Posted from my Surface Pro 2
  • Lol
  • I agree with you.
  • Hopefully they also do the same with domestic terrorist groups like white supremacists and the kkk.
  • So, if I'm curious to know what those guys are all about, I'll have to switch to Google search...good way to make yourself less reliable. Posted from my Surface Pro 2
  • Found the liberal
  • Haha Posted via the Windows Central App for Android (V10 or 5x)
  • Any group that supports one race over another should be removed.
  • And when was the last time they blew something up?
  • Changing the terms of use will really have an effect.... Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Searches are information. Information should not be hidden. Learning about terrorists and their organisations is neither being a terrorist nor supporting terrorism. Ignorance isn't always bliss. (However, I don't believe I fully understand what they are going to do here.)
  • Sounds good. Until you end up on some terrorist watch list because you believe the Constitution is not just a piece of paper and have a Ron Paul sticker on your car. Been there, done that.
  • Remember, terrorists are war criminals. War criminals shouldn't have rights anyway.
  • One should always remember that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. It is all a matter of perspective.
  • Not really.  "Terrorist" is a word that gets overused these days, but it has a specific meaning.  A terrorist is someone that uses violence for no other purpose than to create fear and terror.  An "insurgent" could be a freedom fighter from the other sides perspective, but a terrorist is not fighting for freedom.  For example, what freedom is ISIS fighting for?  Nobody was stopping ISIS from living their lives the way they see fit.
  • It doesn't matter if your statement is true or not because terrorists kill innocent civilians and that is an international war crime.
  • A terrorist is always a terrorist not a freedom fighter. But great powers of the world could declare anyone who they are pissed with or wouldn't bow down to them a terrorist. For an example nelson Mandela was once declared a terrorist by the US. Was he a terrorist? Today US and the rest of the world don't get tired of praising him. Now he is considered one of the greatest leaders of all time. It's a screwed up world. L950
  • This reminds me of when British intelligence replaced bomb making instructions with a cake recipe. Anyways, as for this story, any reasonable person knows that this is the right move to make, but some people are still likely to make a noise about Microsoft "policing the internet".
  • so, MS is concerned about terrorists now. didn't they stand in support of Apple, which could effectively help a terrorist? I think if they are serious it is more effective to simply report suspected terrorist posts appropriately and not get into a fracas on free speech and definition of a terrorist.
  • The world is more complex than black and white.  MS can be against terrorism in general while still believing that crippling user security on behalf of the government is not an appropriate solution to the problem.  In some parts of the world, governments are the biggest threat to citizens.  Syria and North Korea are obvious examples, but even fairly civilized places like China monitor their own citizens and many people have "disappeared" for speaking out about their government or owning contraband materials.
  • In addition to what I already said, free speech has nothing to do with this.  MS is a private company not the US government.  Your right to free speech does not allow you to post your thoughts, materials, etc. on a private companies services/property without restrictions.  News papers and most magazines don't have to allow the KKK to advertize in the classified section if don't want that kind of material in their media.  You don't get to upload and share a copyrighted movie on OneDrive and claim freedom of speech either.  If freedom of speech applies here at all, it is Microsoft's freedom to control what is said and done with their private property and services.
  • You're right but then what happens when they're doing this under political arm twisting by groups following an agenda, be it the for-profit race-baters of a group like SPLC or the bureaucrats at the DoJ? Are we supposed to get acclimated to hybridized mix of totalitarianist, fascist, and communist tactics and accept it to so that they can eventually take the hand after the finger?   There's a reason why they are attacking free speech in EVERY possible avenue under the guise of erroneous "racism", bullying, "Sexism", "national security", etc, etc, etc. all of the sudden - all at the same time.
  • What you are describing would be a violation of freedom of speech and freedom of the press.  That is not even close to the same thing as a private entity deciding what is appropriate use of their own property.  As a matter of fact, it is the complete opposite.  Therefore, your argument that this is a 'slippery slope' makes zero sense because these slopes go in opposite directions.  You are basically suggesting that MS should be forced (by whom?) to host terrorist propoganda against their will so that the government can't later force MS to filter other things even though the government can't legally do that anyway. Also, I keep hearing people talk about how "freedom of speech is under attack" any time someone challenges their xenophoblic rants.  There are two logical problems with this.  First, the people claiming this are usually saying it publically and often on the national news to a massive audience.  Clearly, their voice is being heard by a lot of people so it doesn't make a lot of sense to claim their freedom of speech is under attack.  If anything, those people are getting more airtime than most since there is entertainment value in their rhetoric.  Secondly, these people usually consider the "attackers" to be other private companies or individuals that disagree with them.  So what they consider an "attack on their freedom of speech" is actually their desire to say things that a lot of people disagree with, without allowing those people to voice their own opinion.  In other words, they consider opposing opinions (other people's freedom of speech) to be a violation of their freedom of speech.  You mentioned Facebook in another post as an example of violating peoples freedom of speech.  Facebook is a private company that has a vested interest in keeping their content free of extremism, misinformation, and offensive content.  They are not the government and they don't owe you any rights.  Furthermore, Facebook is also the only mainstream place I visit where I routinely see people posting rediculous conspiracy theories, misinformation, and bigotry.  Everything from chem trail mind control to the US government hiring Russian Mercs to take our guns away, or crap about vaccines causing autism, or just plain racism.  This kind of viral nonsense propaganda is dangerous and makes people dumber.  I would hope that Facebook is doing something to filter this kind of misinformation from their currated news feed, but to those people that have already been brainwashed by this propaganda it will always look like censorship and a government conspiracy.  
  • It cuts both ways Cleavitt. Punishing students for putting up Trump or Blue Lives Matter's posters and allowing other groups to freely express themselves is a problem IMO. I'm completely OK with people protesting but when it turns to breaking the law to stop a rally or speech is wrong. If you just want to pat each other on the back, close your eyes and cover your ears because you are too closed minded to listen to other viewpoints you are not a participant in free speech. Both sides are guilty of this.
  • While I like the "idea" of what is being proposed and want to applaud it, the execution of it is dangerous and prone to radical shifts in ideology. The idea of a "terrorist" is relative to the perspective of the beholder (i.e. Just look at the prior "Zionist" comment above. Often that term goes hand-in-hand with the desire to see Israel and and the Jewish people wiped off the face of the earth.) Obama has compared the House republicans to ISIS and implied that their tactics are similar. The UN may be on the verge of considering Israel a terrorist state. In places like Iran, non-Muslims are imprisoned for "terrorist activities against the state" and "inciting the public" for simply talking to someone else about a God other than Allah or having meetings about such things. Saying you are going to sensor "terrorism" and then allowing a foreign government to determine what that means seems like a risky proposition to me. I don't know if there is an easy answer for this one.
  • I hope they really live up to it and not forget about it like the pledge they took to cleanse the Windows Store.
  • Microsoft and Bill Gates are supporters of the NWO, so is anyone really surprised?
  • Wonder if they'll define 'terrorist' like government does, very vaguely. You don't defeat extremism by censoring it, you defeat it with mature and rational argument.
  • "Who decides?" -U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, RIP
  • So are they going to stretch this to include veterans, constitutionalists, populists, etc. like the rest of the fascists - with facebook being a recent example under command of NGO's and the more corrupt end of the government alike? I get plenty of people to stay away from google by encouraging to research what they are. Not going to have a problem doing the same to microsoft if they pull this same crap.
  • Good. Killary needs to be taken off the internets.
  • Well, duh...
  • If you offer a service and said service is being used in a way that does not jive with the majority of the population, or even the executives who run such a service, it is totally within their right to control how their service is used. For something like preventing globally recognized terrorist organizations from using such services to promote ill will, I find it discouraging to see others perceive it as an "attack" on 1st Amendment rights...*sigh*