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This is how you can report hate speech using Microsoft's new tools

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 29 August 2016, 15:26 IST

Microsoft has announced a new dedicated web form to allow users to report hate speech. The initiative is aimed at curbing hate speech and ensuring safer online communities. Users can also use online forms to request that content be reinstated.

The tech giant announced the developments in a blogpost:

"Microsoft is committed to creating safe online communities where our customers can learn, play, grow and interact without the threat of violence or hatred. That's why 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. We're also simplifying requests to reinstate content that customers feel was removed in error.

Today we're announcing a new dedicated web form for reporting hate speech on our hosted consumer services, and a separate web form for requests to reconsider and reinstate content.

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:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender
  • National or ethnic origin
  • Race
  • Religion
  • 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.

We take seriously our responsibilities in removing hate speech and addressing other violations of our terms of use, but we're not perfect. We already provide customers, within various consumer products and services, the means to ask us to review a content removal decision they feel was made in error. And, just as we're making it simpler for users to report hate speech, we're also adding a new multi-service reconsideration form to request reinstatement of content that customers feel was disabled in error. We will review submissions via this new form, and if appropriate, reinstate the content.

Beyond streamlining the means for reporting, we're working with the broader internet community to combat offensive content online. We work with governments, online safety advocates and other technology companies to ensure there is no place on our hosted consumer services for conduct that incites violence and hate. As one 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.

We understand and appreciate the nuance and complexity of these issues. 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."

First published: 29 August 2016, 15:26 IST
 
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