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Microsoft announces new tools to help fight hate speech online

Microsoft has announced a new dedicated web form, which will help users report hate speech.

By: Tech Desk |
August 29, 2016 1:15:02 pm
Microsoft, Microsoft hate speech, Microsoft hate speech tools, Microsoft Web form, Microsoft hate speech online, Microsoft Corp Microsoft has announced new web tools to deal with hate speech on the Internet. (Source: Reuters)

Microsoft has announced a new dedicated web form, which will help users report hate speech hosted on any of the company’s consumer services. There’s also going to be a separate web form with request to reconsider/reinstate content, which might have been wrongly tagged as hate speech by someone or taken down by the Microsoft team.

In a blogpost confirming the announcement, Microsoft said it “is committed to creating safe online communities where our customers can learn, play, grow and interact without the threat of violence or hatred.” Microsoft says it has “prohibited hate speech,” and removed such content from their consumer services in the past, and the new tools will help refine this process of dealing with such content.

Microsoft outlines briefly what sort of hate content will not be allowed on its services. The list includes hateful content around Age, Disability, Gender, National or ethnic origin, Race, Religion and Sexual orientation as well as gender identity. The list of topics covered is quite broad, although Microsoft has not given details on how long it takes to remove content which is tagged as hateful.

Microsoft says the current “‘notice-and-takedown'” approach for removing prohibited content on hosted consumer services” will continue. The forms are a new way of improving quality and the speed with which such content is reviewed on their websites.

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The blogpost reads, “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…”

Microsoft says it has also joined major social media and video-sharing firms in support of the European Commission Code of Conduct to deal with illegal hate speech online. The company says any requests it receives from governments for removal of hate speech will be included in their overall transparency Report.

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