Don’t even think of saying it!
Microsoft could cut off users of its services over “offensive language” in new terms and conditions that it has recently rolled out. The Ts and Cs cover Skype, OneDrive and Xbox Live.
The eye-opening wording was noticed by civil rights advocate Jonathan Corbett at Professional Troublemaker.
“Looking through the full text of the new agreement, I found the relevant change in Section 3(a)(iv): Don’t 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),” writes Corbett.
He added: “So wait a sec: 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 ‘fuck’ 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? … And how are they going to enforce this ban?”
The answer is in the next clause, in which Microsoft asserts that it will investigate “alleged violations” of its terms and conditions and “reserves the right to review Your Content in order to resolve the issue”.
It was first posted on 1 March and will come into force on 1 May.
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?
The company claimed that it amended the Code of Conduct section to clarify that the “use of offensive language and fraudulent activity is prohibited”.
There are also new bans on inappropriate content and material, such as nudity, pornography, graphic violence and criminal activity – although not the kind of violence depicted in, for example, games such as Call of Duty or Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds on the Xbox One.
Microsoft warned that violating these terms “may result in suspensions or bans from participation in Xbox Services, including forfeiture of content licences, Xbox Gold Membership time, and Microsoft account balances associated with the account”.
It added: “We may also block delivery of a communication (like email, file sharing or instant message) to or from the Services in an effort to enforce these Terms or we may remove or refuse to publish Your Content for any reason.”
The new rules come as the US government has just passed the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA), which is intended to clamp down on trafficking, but which has also been criticised for being excessively broad.