A new update to Microsoft's services agreement is targeting offensive language across platforms such as Skype and Xbox Live, threatening suspensions and bans for going against the new rules.
"In the Code of Conduct section, we’ve clarified that use of offensive language and fraudulent activity is prohibited," the company said in an update. "We’ve also clarified that violation of the Code of Conduct through Xbox Services may result in suspensions or bans from participation in Xbox Services, including forfeiture of content licenses, Xbox Gold Membership time, and Microsoft account balances associated with the account."
As to what exactly Microsoft deems inappropriate behavior, the company outlines "nudity, bestiality, pornography, offensive language, graphic violence or criminal activity" as against its new rules. It begs the question: How would Microsoft know? Well, according to its updated service agreement, and as called out by blogger Jonathan Corbett, the company, when investigating an alleged violation, is reserving the rights to review a users "content" to verify whether or not an infraction's been made.
"What’s clear here is that Microsoft is reserving the right to cancel your account whenever they feel like it. They do nothing to define 'offensive language' (or 'graphic violence,' for that matter)," Corbett writes. "What’s also clear is that they reserve the right to go through your private data, and these terms seem to pretty clearly allow them to watch and listen to your Skype calls, so long as they are 'investigating' something. The terms don’t appear to require any complaint to be filed against you – just that an employee decide that they want to 'investigate.'"
After sharing his story, Corbett says he's been banned from the Microsoft Reddit page, which is used by the company.
According to Microsoft, it only plans to investigate a user's content if an allegation's been made. "[We] cannot monitor the entire Services and make no attempt to do so," the company said in its new Code of Conduct.