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Microsoft Tackles Online Hate Speech With New Tools And Resources To Combat Abuse

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Microsoft is taking further steps toward combating online hate speech by rolling out resources to counter sexist, racist or otherwise abusive content on its services.

This is not the company's first rodeo trying to fight online abuse. Back in May, for instance, Microsoft vowed to crack down on terrorist content across its services, updating its terms and services to ban any posts related to terrorist content. The following month, in June, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter and Google pledged to fight hate speech across the European Union, abiding to a new "code of conduct."

Continuing such efforts, Microsoft has now introduced a new web form on Aug. 26, offering tools and resources for people to report content instigating violence or promoting hatred based on race, gender, sexual identity or other factors. At the same time, the company is offering a different web form for requests that should be reconsidered and content that should be reinstated.

"Microsoft is committed to creating safe online communities where our customers can learn, play, grow and interact without the threat of violence or hatred," says the company.

Further highlighting that it has been making efforts in this regards for many years now, Microsoft notes that it's not changing its principles or policies, it's merely "refining" some processes and making it easier for users to report hate speech or make requests for content to be reinstated if they feel it was wrongfully removed.

The company reiterates its commitment to providing a safe and civil environment through its services, which is why it will never tolerate any content promoting hate speech based on age, gender, disability, national or ethnic origin, religion, race, sexual orientation or gender identity.

"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," adds Microsoft.

The company will evaluate each complaint regarding potential hate speech and take various factors into account, including context, before determining appropriate action. This means that simply having someone report a piece of content is not enough to have it removed, the request will be thoroughly reviewed in order to minimize the potential for wrongful takedowns.

Beyond these tools that facilitate reporting, Microsoft is also working with governments, other technology companies, safety advocates and the online community to counter online content that may be hateful or offensive.

The new resources should help reduce online hate speech across Xbox Live and other Microsoft services, but it's also important that users get involved and report hateful content.

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