‘Offensive language’ may get you banned from Microsoft’s Skype, Xbox Live

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From 1 May 2018, using “offensive language” on Microsoft’s online services could get you banned, this after the company updated its Services Agreement.

Although the change was implemented on 1 March 2018, civil rights advocate Jonathan Corbett spotted the change this week.

“In the Code of Conduct section, we’ve clarified that use of offensive language and fraudulent activity is prohibited,” Microsoft wrote in a brief summation of the changes.

Further digging into the actual change, explains that users are not allowed to “publicly display or use the Services to share any inappropriate content or other material (involving, for example, nudity, bestiality, pornography, offensive language, graphic violence or criminal activity).”

The “offensive language” portion is what will be added from 1 May, however Microsoft didn’t clarify what it will deem offensive.

The company also wasn’t clear on how it will keep track of naughty language used publicly within Skype, Xbox Live, OneDrive, Outlook or the gaggle of online services operated by Redmond.

Microsoft: ‘In the Code of Conduct section, we’ve clarified that use of offensive language and fraudulent activity is prohibited’

The word “publicly” however is important. But while it should be relatively easy to monitor public gaming lobbies, what about personal Skype calls, instant messages within groups, or provocatively-named images shared via OneDrive?

Microsoft explicitly claims that it will “not monitor the Services and make no attempt to do so”, but in the Cambridge Analytica era, the implications of the playing personal data watch dog is something that doesn’t sit well with some internet users.

“Big tech: You have nowhere to hide. We will take over all the infrastructure and we will control every word of the conversation. Thanks for all the voice data when you used the ‘free’ Cortana,” reads one comment on Reddit.

Others on Twitter however asked the hard hitting questions.

Feature image: Skype/Microsoft

Andy Walker
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