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Microsoft Launches Hate Speech Reporting Site

Music superstar Rhianna plays Xbox Live. (Photo: Gamescore Blog/Flickr Creative Commons)

Music superstar Rhianna plays Xbox Live. (Photo: Gamescore Blog/Flickr Creative Commons)

Microsoft has launched a new website for Xbox Live, Skype and other users to report hate speech and to reinstate posts that were wrongly deleted.

Engadget reports the new support website, which launched on Friday, allows Xbox Live, Skype, Docs.com, OneDrive, Outlook and Sway users to report objectionable content. Citing the company’s “important role to play in fostering safety and civility on our hosted consumer services,” Microsoft is encouraging users to report speech that “advocates violence or promotes hatred based on age, disability, gender, national or ethnic origin, race, religion or sexual orientation/gender identity.”

The new site, which is similar to the one the company built to report pro-terrorist posts, no longer requires users to submit screen shots or recordings of alleged hate speech. Instead, users can simply submit a link to the content along with their email address. Microsoft Chief Online Safety Officer Jacqueline Beauchere said the company is striving to balance a free and open Internet with respect for human rights.

“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,” Beauchere wrote on a company blog announcing the new site. “We also aim to foster safety and civility on our services; therefore, we’ve never — nor will we ever — permit content that promotes hatred.”

Recognizing that such portals can be abused, resulting in the deletion of content that does not contain hate speech, Microsoft also announced the launch of a separate website where users can submit requests to restore disabled content.

Microsoft, along with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, recently joined a European Commission campaign against online harassment. The companies signed a code of conduct meant to ensure their platforms “do not offer opportunities for illegal online hate speech to spread virally.”

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