Microsoft announces new resources to crack down on hate speech

A Microsoft logo is seen at a pop-up site for the new Windows 10 operating system at Roosevelt Field in Garden City, New York July 29, 2015. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Microsoft has launched a new dedicated web form for reporting hate speech on its hosted consumer services, in a move to protect users by prohibiting and removing such content from its services. It also aims to foster safety and civility on its services.

Consumers can report content shared or posted that promotes hatred based on age, disability, gender, national or ethnic origin, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.

However, not all the content consumer finds offensive will be considered as hate speech. Microsoft will take action only after reviewing the content.

Microsoft will evaluate each complaint, consider context and other factors, then determine action with respect to the content and user’s account. It will use notice-and-takedown approach for removing prohibited content on its services.

Alongside this, the company is adding a new multi-service reconsideration form to ask for content to be reinstated. After reviewing the submissions via this new form, the company will reinstate the content, if it finds it appropriate.

In an effort to combat offensive content online, Microsoft is already working with governments, online safety advocates and other tech firms. It recently joined major social media and video-sharing companies to support the European Commission Code of Conduct for countering hate speech online.

The announcement comes from Microsoft chief online safety officer Jacqueline Beauchere who said: “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.”

With such resourcefulness, Microsoft hopes to address hate speech more aggressively. “Our hope is that with these steps, we more directly address hate speech on our hosted services; improve transparency in how we are tackling this offensive content online, and help to foster Microsoft communities where acceptance, inclusion and civility are the norm,” said Beauchere. – IBTimes

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