games / News

Microsoft Bans Offensive Language From Services, Claims Right to Monitor Accounts

March 27, 2018 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Microsoft Xbox One

Microsoft has updated their terms of service to ban “offensive language” and other content, and will review accounts when investigating issues. As CBS Local reports, the software giant updated their services agreement as of March 1st and will ban accounts that publicly display or use the Services to share inappropriate content or material (involving, for example, nudity, bestiality, pornography, offensive language, graphic violence, or criminal activity).”

In addition, the agreement says that the company will investigate users accused of violating the policy, noting, “When investigating alleged violations of these Terms, Microsoft reserves the right to review Your Content in order to resolve the issue.”

Violation of the Code of Conduct through Xbox Services “may result in suspensions or bans from participation in Xbox Services, including forfeiture of content licenses, Xbox Gold Membership time, and Microsoft account balances associated with the account.”

The terms of service are coming under fire from internet privacy and civil rights advocates, who claim that it is a free speech issue. CSO Online’s Ms. Smith argues, “Offensive language is fairly vague. Offensive to whom? What my granny might find offensive and what I might find offensive could be vastly different.”

Civil rights activist Jonathan Corbett added, “I can’t use Skype to have an adult video call with my girlfriend? I can’t use OneDrive to back up a document that says ‘f–k’ in it? If I call someone a mean name in Xbox Live, not only will they cancel my account, but also confiscate any funds I’ve deposited in my account?”

“In 2018, when anyone can be offended by anything, these terms allow Microsoft staff to play unrestrained censor if and when they choose,” Corbett said. ” What’s also clear is that they reserve the right to go through your private data, and these terms seem to pretty clearly allow them to watch and listen to your Skype calls, so long as they are ‘investigating’ something. The terms don’t appear to require any complaint to be filed against you—just that an employee deciding that they want to investigate.”

Microsoft has not yet commented on the criticism. The new agreement will go into effect on May 1st.