The internet is undoubtedly one of most important technical advances ever, but it’s not always a very nice place.
It’s the home of trolls and haters, a place where famous people and ordinary people alike are often subject to shocking threats, insults, having their personal information published online (a practice known as doxing.)
But Microsoft is taking harder stance against hate speech. On Friday it said it wants to make it easier for people to report online abuse in its consumer communities, which includes everything from the internet search engine Bing to gaming community Xbox Live.
“For many years we’ve sought to protect our customers by prohibiting hate speech and removing such content from our hosted consumer services. While neither our principles nor our policies are changing, we are refining some of our processes to make it easier for customers to report hate speech,” explains Microsoft’s chief online safety officer Jacqueline Beauchere in a blog post.
To that end, Microsoft introduced a new form that makes it easier to report hate speech and a clear definition of the kinds of things that constitute hate speech. Anything that advocates violence or promotes hatred based on age, disability, gender, national or ethnic origin or race, religions or sexual orientation/gender identity is the kind of thing Microsoft will nix.
The new form also makes it easier for people to log a protest if their sites or posts were found to be in violation and blocked or removed.
Microsoft also recently joined other online firms to support the European Commission Code of Conduct countering illegal hate speech online, Beauchere says.