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Microsoft takes steps to help people report hate speech on its online services

Microsoft has announced it has launched a new website for people to report any hate speech that is posted on its online services. This new move comes just a few months after the company pledged to remove terrorist content from its services.

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

We will continue our "notice-and-takedown" approach for removing prohibited content on hosted consumer services, and the new form aims to improve the quality and speed of our reviews. When hate speech is reported to us, we will evaluate each complaint, consider context and other factors, and determine appropriate action with respect to the content and the user's account.

In addition to the hate speech reporting site (opens in new tab), Microsoft has launched another site that will allow users to submit requests to reinstate content (opens in new tab) as well:

We take seriously our responsibilities in removing hate speech and addressing other violations of our terms of use, but we're not perfect. We already provide customers, within various consumer products and services, the means to ask us to review a content removal decision they feel was made in error. And, just as we're making it simpler for users to report hate speech, we're also adding a new multi-service reconsideration form to request reinstatement of content that customers feel was disabled in error. We will review submissions via this new form, and if appropriate, reinstate the content.

Microsoft says that these new sites are designed so that the company can "directly address hate speech on our hosted services" while also offering more transparency as to how the company handles this kind of content.

130 Comments
  • Nice work!
  • Agreed.  Most comment sections are cesspools, and the kind of language you have to put up with on XBL is often atrocious.  I'm glad MS is taking it seriously.
  • Yeah i was thinking more inline with hosting KKK banners and **** on Onedrive not whether or not 12 year old jimmy says he slept with your mom last night on Xbox. I think you're confusing hate speech with trash talk
  • Try spending time on XBL as a female or minority.
  • Must be tough
  • I am a minority, whats your point?
  • The same as it was before.  Why do you ask?
  • In your scenario I'm sure the news reporter/blogger having their photos of the KKK rally removed from OneDrive would appreciate Microsoft's high minded idealism. The student trying to do a report on history of civil rights and WWII will really appreciate having their offensive image files washed clean by OneDrive censors. Your scenario of OneDrive censorship reminds me of when Apple banned every app and game from their store that had the confederate flag. History and news is offensive to many but it is extremely dangerous to sweep it under the rug and not allow people to learn and share. Platforms that seek to censor speech, news, history and art should be boycotted and replaced by freer more open platforms.
  • I dont think that's what they're doing. They're not just going to delete random images.
  • Where in ANY of this does it say they are going to go through and just delete images. You're inventing a situation here that hasn't happened.
  • It is easier to debate straw men than debate what was actually proposed.
  • That's what conspiracy nuts do, invent strawmen rather than focusing on reality. :-(
  • Except it's not a strawman.  He gave examples of things.  And in this day and age where so many people scream that any opposing viewpoint is "hate speech", who is going to be the arbiter of what is hate speech and what is just a differing, perhaps unpopular, opinion?
  • 1) The proposal by Microsoft did not include the examples given by cool8man, hence it is a straw man he built merely to discredit the proposal. 2) Microsoft will be arbitrating what is hate speech vs what is a differing opinion.  Given that they own the services in question, they have the right to determine that just as you have the right to kick someone out of your home for saying things that are offensive to you.
  • I don't think you know what a strawman is. Their current policy deletes pornography from your Onedrive without notification. Hence where I pulled this "strawman" you keep talking about. Your argument is invalid.
    And for the record, I am a minority on Xbox Live, yet I don't have PTSD from other players calling me a racial slur after I destroy them in a game. Boohoo. I think if people like you were to rule Xbox Live we'd probably all get kicked out for pointing out the fact that you're such a candy-ass.
  • It is a straw man because people are arguing for a policy that does not exist.  Your evidence that it is relevant is itself a straw man because you are pointing to an unrelated rule against pornography.  What you need to demonstrate is that Microsoft has stated or implemented a policy against hate speech on OneDrive.  For bonus points, explain why that would be a problem if they did, given that its thier servers and bandwidth. As for the fact that you are a minority on XBL, um, congrats?  That does not change the treatment my niece receives if she dares use the voice chat features online. 
  • Unrelated? In the same service by the same company? Now we're just delusional.
    I never made my statement to be fact. Hence why it started with "I was thinking more in-line with". But I don't think reading comprehension is your strong-suit. Furthermore, I don't need to make an argument as to why it would be a bad thing. As Cool8Man had already done us the favor.
    Oh so first you make being a minority on Xbox Live a point and now all of a sudden its irrelevant? Helloo? Are we moving goal posts around now?
    Congratulations, you played yourself. Bye-bye.
  • I'm sorry, maybe I missed the part where they would censure hate speech on their file sharing site.  I'm trying to figure out how that works, is there a blogging function in OneDrive I just wasn't aware of yet? And yes, the fact that you are a minority is irrelevant to the fact that many if not most minorities, women and homosexuals experience abuse on XBL.  If you have not experienced it, it is either because you are in no way obviously a minority to those who mistreat others, or you have been extraordinarily lucky.  It takes all of ten minutes in any sort of an open game for someone to be an ass to my niece, and a transgender gamer friend of mine has simply had to mute her mic.  But hey, more power to you, I guess for you being a minority means the ability to ignore the experiences of other minorities.  Assuming you are even telling the truth.
  • No but there's an image/media content hosting feature that you seem completely unaware of. Idk how too I mean do you even use Onedrive? Or know what it is? Lmao
    First hold up the race card in the air like you've made a point and once its shut down somehow you assume my experience online is different from the rest. I'm not black enough for you? Is that what you're saying? Not Mexican enough? Not girl enough?
    My experience isn't all that different. Its not. I'm just not a little crybaby about it that's all. If you really get offended so much about what a random 13 year old squeaker says to you in a VIDEO GAME you must be in fetal position at all times in real life.
    That's why mute functions exist. The world isn't your nanny.
    Better luck next time :)
  • What is a 'race card'?  The topic of this is hate speech online.  Of course race is a subject of it.  As is misogyny, homophobia and so on.  Its not a 'card' to discuss the topic of the article.  Microsoft is a private corporation.  The servers that host these things are owned by them. It is their right to censure the content hosted on them.  They believe that from either a financial or ethical point of view (and having worked there I lean towards the latter) that it is not responsible of them to permit hate speech on their systems.  And as such they have given a reporting mechanism to weed it out.  I am failing to see why all this whining from sensitive little flowers such as yourself who seem to be afraid that some ass somewhere may have thier bigotry removed is coming from.  There are plenty of places that could care less what you post, use those. And again, its fine that YOU have chosen for YOURSELF that you don't care what other people treat you like.  That is your choice.  Others have made other choices or had other experiences.  Show some respect.
  • TL;DR
    Delete your account.
  • Tell that to Microsoft who's current policy flat-out denies any pornographic (read: nude) material on Onedrive. So much for a ridiculous scenario right?
  • I have several pornographic materials on OneDrive.
  • I have too, I just have to reupload them every 4 months or so haha
  • Slippery slopes are still logical fallacies.  You are right they have a policy against hosting pornography on their property.  And at some point they may start a policy against other topics.  They have not at this point, however.  Do you have a problem with private property rights..?  Should you be forced to host porn or hate speech at your home or business?
  • That seems pretty vague to me. "Hate speech" can cover a pretty wide group of opinionated topics. This seems like more of a PR move and anything else.
  • That, and people are too "sensitive" these days. Back in the day, we were allowed to have meaningful discussions without people running off to safe spaces and crying to their couselors because someone didn't preclude something with "trigger warning". SMH.
  • Hate speech......is everybody a delicate flower? What a culture the USA has become
  • Your post is being removed.... The delicate flowers are here! Hahaha Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Okay. So what, in your opinion, is or isn't hate speech? 
  • I wonder if he'd say that in public and not behind a keyboard. This is seriously a good thing. I can't say I ever get offended, but it's seriously annoying listenting to, or reading, people throw out tons of racial, sexist, or homophobic slurs while trying to have fun playing a game, especially when it's coming from a 12 year old.
  • For a lot of Americans calling black man black is racist, saying that women usually choose men that are smarter than them is sexist, and that two men shagging will not help our spieces to survive is homophobic. I call it telling the truth, but truth is not trending nowadays.
  • I can't say I've ever heard any of this. Maybe your bullet point about blacks. But I think it's more of a preference as most blacks I know and have met (myself included) use the term black to describe ourselves. The other two points? I'm kind of speechless and not sure how to comment. As a non woman, I don't want to pretend I know for sure what is or what isn't offensive to women (though having a mother, sister, aunts, cousins, in-laws and friends, I have a pretty good idea). I think something like that is quite low on the list. Same for gays. But I would imagine anyone with common sense would find that idea ridiculous and ignorant. I don't think you have to be gay to realize how stupid that sounds. I'm genuinely curious as to what others think isn't or isn't offensive. I know what many of us (blacks) consider offensive. I know what many in our country deem socially appropriate and inappropriate to say (many of those things match up with what many of us find offensive). I'm also aware as to what many around the country think shouldn't be offensive. Many times, its those that don't have the experience dealing with those offenses or could never really understand it. But are quick to tell those who do experience them that they're being a, for lack of a better term, ***** or some other dismissive term or that they need to get over it.
  • The u.s. are not america
  • Lol you mean telling the most idiotic comments ever! Who even says that to begin with especially your last point which is ridiculous! Humanity is no where near extinction levels buddy!? That's the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. #TeamLumia 950 XL
  • Would I say what in public ? I'm not stirring the pot. I have spoken truth in public forums that have gotten me threatened with physical violence. The gospel of Jesus certainly divides people
  • Yeah, forums is not public, hence "not behind the keyboard". Though on the topic of hate speech, religion has quite a lot of that, so there's another annoying thing id love to see Microsoft allow to be reportable.
  • I'm talking about in the open square...not behind a keyboard....whats your problem with me guy? You apparently have one
  • I see something much more sinister here. "hate speech" crimes will become law and big government will determine what you can and can't say in public.
    God help us all.
  • Yes, unfortunately this is the slippery slope we are headed towards. I'm all for showing due respect toward one another, but respect does not equal agreement. This idea of hate speech is not new. It's been used by the social thought Police to eliminated freedom of speech in areas they disagree with for years. We will soon see laws using "hate speech" as a measuring stick and then the authors get to define it however they want. Crazy stuff. If hate speech was only things like "kill the whites, kill the blacks, kill the Arabs, kill the Jews" then I think most sane people could agree, but that is not how this will be used. That is not how this is already being used. By "this" I mean the idea of hate speech.
  • Wow, serious lack of logic here. There is a huge difference between a company, a private organization, telling you that you can't say something or they will punish you (likely by removing a post or suspending a service even if you pay for it), and the government punishing you for saying something. It's called the first amendment.
  • Remember sticks and stones ? Names do hurt...but somehow I lived through name calling and "bullies" taunts. Just part of life. You either get tough or you don't....the choice is yours.
  • Exactly! And here's a scary thought... Someday, someone from the "safe spaces" generation will be elected... President. God help us.
  • I don't think anyone could be more ignorant than you. Hate speech is not only bullying and name calling. It's a myopic point of view like yours that drives the misconception that a policy such as this is a negative.
  • You say my myopic point of view and call me ignorant? I know it is not just bullying and hate speech. Who are you to come off putting words in my mouth? Tell me where I said it was a negative policy? All I gave was my opinion. I never said they shouldn't do it...big difference
  • I agree. Mutual respect is such an ugly thing.
  • Man is giving up his identity. The pace at which he is becoming a weak, ineffectual, feminized shell of a human being.  
  • lol I'm going to call you all the drama generation.
  • You can say that again.  I'm always amazed at all the offense taken by those who complain about others taking offense.
  • Go up to a black guy and call him the N-word, and tell him what a delicate flower he is. Let us know how that works out for you
  • I will admit delicate flower was too broad a brush. I will be the first to apologize..i came to this site to learn from folks..certainly not get into politics. I do believe though that we have become way too overly sensitive in our western society. I'll let it go from here......if anybody would like to talk I'm open.
  • First help WP users like us to stay on board..
  • Absolutely bonkers, define hate speech, hf, gl and reinstate myspace and rename it safe space. As stephen fry put it in 2005: “It's now very common to hear people say, 'I'm rather offended by that.' As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more... than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well, so ******* what."
  • You sound like you're rather offended about people being offended
  • Let us be wise and just report ourselves before we offend eachother even more! Ghe:P
  • This is going to be a complete mess. Being we have "safe spaces" on college campuses these days because delicate little flowers cannot tolerate hearing anything that can challenge their world view, where something as simple as saying a specific presidential candidate's name will send them into a tailspin, be prepared to start banning anyone and everyone.
  • Amen to that.. Whoops, sorry folks "Amen" offends some people these days and that's how messy its gonna get.. I wish MS the best on this..
  • Msft should exploit the black sheeps in a land stack on Earth instead of this silly old thing. Next time, I might have to expect a refined Cortana.
  • So instead of using phrases like "safe spaces" or "delicate flower"  (and a host of others that may or may not be code for something insidious), why don't we be adults and discuss openly what we feel is or isn't worthy of being offended by? 
  • That's a good idea, but with this generation actual debate and discussion is harder when you can just leave a dramatic comment that has no meaning.
  • Safe space is code? It was the delicate flowers on college campuses that came up with the terminology. It is our job to ridicule the pathetic idea out of existence. There is nothing adult about college students demanding safe spaces from offensive ideas.
  • It's not a matter of what is or is not offensive, because that's a very subjective thing, but how should one react to being offended. Attempting to get someone banned from social media, fired from their jobs or forming a "safe space" echo chamber, which are the preferred SJW censorship tactics, is not the right way to deal with the problem.
  • Political Correction Police on work! We don't want anybody's so important feelings to be hurt.
  • That's good. I don't think it'll help with comment sections, though. I've learned to not worry about insults targeted at me in comment sections, especially on YouTube. There's probably only one or two sites that I visit that aren't filled with garbage in the comments.
  • The march to 1984 continues.
  • No it doesn't. This is about a private entity choosing what content it hosts on its network. 1984 is government oppression. 
  • Yes, and what is this stuff brought on by? Government intervention in telling us what to consider acceptable and a society that both demands more government intervention at every turn and tries to strip people of any chance of thinking for themselves.
  • Oh brother. Another rant about big government, losing rights, etc. without a single concrete example. Stop whining baby
  • EU and german government have already instructed fb, ms, twitter and google on what to censor and what to report, so indeed big tech companies are already acting on behalf of governments. But apparently you were hiding in a special place when that news broke, and now you feel entitled to dish out a fact free insult. How typical:)
  • Yeah I was "hiding" in the U.S. where non of the stuff you mentioned is happening...and that's a fact
  • This is being brought on by Microsoft, a private entity Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Good. Neocon killarys promoting endless wars should have no place in the internets.
  • To some just the mentioning of written history is considered"Hate Speech" Some people don't like hearing about the harsh ish their people did to others.
  • Yeah you mean like those African slave traders....selling their own people into slavery.. Terrible and diabolical.
  • Hmm..your specific example is raising some flags on your political positions.
  • Personally I find the negative slant towards everything just as unappealing as 'delicate flowers.' It's more the lack of respect for one another that amazes me on these websites. Seems without violence or naysaying people can't get interested.
  • I agree entirely, but you miss the point. What we are seeing is two groups, people like you and who are sincere, and the other group, the career victims. For them this isn't about respect, it is about oppression via selective enforcement. It is about their acceptable variant of hatred.
  • There is a difference between showing respect for others and just being such a whiny, snivelling little brat that cannot function on a daily basis because they get their feelings hurt. On TV not too long ago they were interviewing some woman who was bawling like you would not believe in at one of the college safe zones. The reason? She was offended simply because she walked past a car with a Trump bumper sticker, and it was so offensive seeing his name that he could not take it and needed to seek protection. That is where we are today. On twitter there was a gay man who called a a celeb a man, and he was perma banned. Just yesterday there was an article about the xbox onesie, and someone made a comment asking if you bought the onesie, is the female model part of the offer. And certian people were upset about how offensive that was. It is no longer about being civil towards one another, it is about not being able to tolerate the thoughts nor ideas of other people if they do not match your thoughts or ideas. And if they do not match, then those differing thoughs and opinions must be silenced because it is offensive to others.
  • I agree with you. Aren't people stop supposed to be tolerating nowadays?
  • Amen to that!
  • I don't like to pick arguments with anybody..im much more interested in reconciliation and keeping the peace,...but come on now. I'm 49 yrs. old and I am old enough to remember a time before "safe spaces" and "hate speech" were terms we hear soo much of today. It is scary what lies ahead especially if Clinton gets into the white house. PC will be enforced
  • Actually a person should hope that they are offended by a few things a day, it shows that our democracy and free speech is alive and well. The scariest thought is not hearing or seeing something that offends you. Our constitution guarantees that you will be offended as it should.
  • We have a republic, not a democracy.
  • We who? There are people from all over posting here.
  • Do you even know what republic or democracy mean?
  • Clearly you don't...
  • The US is a republic.
  • I hear things every day that people choose to be offended by. I choose not to be offended by these things.
  • Kudos! Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Interesting!  How is Microsoft going to try to stop hate speech when they can't even stop spam in Outlook Mail?  This is laughable!
  • I know the PC people will get but hurt and down vote this but, but unlike them, it's only the internet and I don't really care. We're heading down a dangerous path of removing free speech... Let people be ******** if they want to. Others need to grow some skin and ignore it. Sticks and stones people.
  • This has absolutely nothing to do with free speech. Free speech applies when you face retribution from a government, not from Microsoft. They are a private entity. 
  • It has everything to do with free speech.  This is the first step.  Brain wash enough people that this is a good thing and it works well and you have enough people to force it on others via the government.
  • No it doesn't. This is a private party deciding what they host on their network. It's no different than a website blocking a user for derogatory comments. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • So, I take it that you would be on board with a company branding your opinion as "inappropriate" and "hate speech" when it doesn't align with their views, correct?
  • The truth is is there is a war on conservative Christian values in the U.S.
  • Do we need to find you a safe space?   Are you a delicate flower?
  • To whom are you speaking?
  • You. You seem like you need a safe space. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • It's funny how everything "is just truth" until it goes against his belief system.
  • The best part about these conversations is people will tell others to stop playing victim...and they themselves will play victim
  • Exactly.
  • What are you talking about ? You don't know me from a can of paint there guy. I'm not on the defensive or offensive here. I get along well with most people, we all have our convictions on certain issues so let's just let it go. If you want to know what I believe...just ask.
  • No man I don't need a safe space. How about you ?
  • How exactly?
  • Haaa..so now, if we challenge, we get our post deleted! Typical #lemmings
  • Who would have thought? 
    Some if not all HATE SPEECH enthusiasts are lacking self respect skills. Why else plagiarize HATE SPEECH comments from other forums, as 13 participants here have done? Surely, this can only signal a disconnect between originality and again, self respect when, oh look, some of  the very same word for word comments are up as participating comment to other sites addressing the behaviour, with surprise surprise, differing anonymous credentials, more than a half going back 5 years or more. Intolerance is so predictable. Always putting it self out there as being righteous, authoritative, and sincere. Yet only succeeding in pointing out where it gets its wrong.  
  • Doesn't this violate our freedom of speech? Hate speech can be rascism , sexism, agism, etc.. There's no crime in that
  • Freedom of speech doesn't apply against Microsoft or other private entities, only goverments. 
  • Please read the constitution before trying to say someone is infringing on it.
  • Good news!
  • Will ms arrest me for calling someone slut?
  • What if I say F Micro$oft..is that hate speech or do I need to be more aggressive....maybe say something about someones mom.......PC run crazy....Grow up everyone.....it's happening right in front of you
  • You're absolutely within your rights to say F*** Microsoft. Windows Central would be well within their rights to ban you for that. Just like you are well within your rights to use hate speech. And Microsoft is well within their rights to ban you from their platform. See, you want to do whatever you want without being an adult and not dealing with any consequences. That's not going to happen. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I'm sure that won't be abused at all. There's no way someone will get buthurt and report any comment they don't like. Because censorship always works.
  • This isn't censorship. Censorship is an action taken by a government, this is a private entity choosing what they do and don't want to host on their network. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • That's not the definition of censorship
  • So, am I free to come to your home and do as I please, without your permission? Am I free to store my goods in your garage? The answer to that question is no, because we are both private citizens, and anything stored in your house is yours. Just like you don't own what you say online. The site developers and cloud storage providers own that content, and they're free to block it as they see fit. 
  • While that may, technically, be true it's not how things work in the real world. Social media is hugely influential in today's society and when a company chooses to present only 1 side of the argument, because a vocal minority is "triggered" by dissenting opinions then we have a problem. As they say, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions".
  • Finally a safe space because words hurt
  • We need a safe space from some of the dumb comments around here. Witty one-liners pretending to be taking a brave position on what is a complicated topic.
  • The lines between government and big corporations has become blurred over the years. When a company implements a new policy it naturally raises concern because of it,even if that concern is unfounded.
  • All depends on who is defining what hate speech is. To some folks the truth is hate speech.
    America's PC culture has reached a ridiculous point. I'm over it. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Don't hate appreciate. but I hate some things. Rats mice mosquitos.
  • Stink bugs are the worst, rats mice mosquitoes I hate them all.
  • It's a good idea as long as "hate speech" is clearly defined since the modern definition of "hate" is anything that triggers an SJW, which is pretty much everything. Well, except Islam, they love that for some crazy reason.
  • You sound like someone has triggered you
  • I find your comment to be extremely trigger phobic and have reported it to Microsoft. This will teach you to check your white privilege!
  • White privilege....when will the madness end? I'd like to know where this white privilege is so I can get in line. Must have missed it. ;P
  • Are hate speeches about apple still allowed? I hope so.