Microsoft announces new resources to reduce hate speech

Microsoft today pushed out in a blog post for users of its consumer services new resources to reduce hate speech. Users will now be able to communicate directly with the company to report hate speech, and petition for reinstating content via new online forms.

Most people are familiar with efforts by social networks like Twitter and Facebook to ensure safety within their respective online communities. Just last week, Twitter announced the suspension of an additional 235,000 accounts for promoting terrorism.

While Microsoft has also been active in preventing terrorist content from propagating on its services, the company has received less attention than its peers. Services like Outlook, Skype, Xbox, OneDrive and Office 365 draw millions of users that are too easily forgotten with the rise of new platforms like Snapchat and Instagram.

And while most interactions on these platforms are positive, even Microsoft is not immune to the distribution of hateful, inappropriate and sometimes illegal content. Microsoft regularly processes European “Right to be Forgotten” requests and filings for the removal of revenge porn, copyrighted content and illegal content.

Tangibly, in addition to prior efforts, Microsoft is launching two new forms, one each for reporting content and restoring content. At this point, Microsoft already moderates content for inappropriate speech and allows users to request review of a content removal decision.

“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,” said Jacqueline Beauchere, Microsoft Chief Online Safety Officer, in a blog post about the new forms.

The new resources are aimed squarely at reducing hate speech and increasing community by giving both sides a much needed voice.