The internet is a huge place, and it can be an ugly place, with its anonymity bringing with it the ability to insult and threaten violence without the repercussions that would result in the real world. In an effort to curb hate speech and ensure safe online communities, Microsoft has announced a new dedicated web form for reporting hate speech on its hosted consumer services and a separate online form for petitions to reconsider and reinstate content.
Jacqueline Beauchere, Microsoft Chief Online Safety Officer today mentioned the following in her blog post regarding their announcement,
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. 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. We also aim to foster safety and civility on our services; therefore, we’ve never — nor will we ever — permit content that promotes hatred based on:
- National or ethnic origin
- Sexual orientation/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. 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.
Check out the new forms in the below links,
Microsoft is also working with the broader internet community to combat offensive content online.
It is working with governments, online safety advocates and other technology companies to ensure there is no place on its hosted consumer services for conduct that incites violence and hate.
For example, Microsoft recently joined major social media and video-sharing firms in support of the European Commission Code of Conduct countering illegal hate speech online – a joint effort to stop unlawful public incitement to violence and hatred across Europe.
“Reports received from governments will be included as government requests in our semi-annual Content Removal Requests Report, published at the Microsoft Transparency Hub,” the post said.
The company hopes that this effort will more directly address hate speech on its hosted services and improve transparency in how it is tackling the offensive content online.