Content media

Xbox says its agents cracked down on content millions of times in 2022

Social media companies aren’t the only ones censoring content online. Xbox said it cracked down on content millions more times in 2022 than last year.

The gaming brand said its new approach to content enforcement resulted in 4.78 million proactive enforcement actions in the first six months of 2022, compared to less than 1 million actions this year. type over the past year.

“Our Content Moderation Officers are on staff 24/7/365 to ensure that the content and conduct found on our platform meets our Community Standards,” Xbox said. in its very first transparency report. released this week.

Microsoft-owned Xbox said most of its proactive censorship actions were directed against inauthentic accounts, accounting for 4.33 million of the brand’s 4.78 million enforcement decisions against gamers. Enforcement actions typically involve a temporary suspension preventing someone from playing a game, according to the report.

Inauthentic accounts sought to manipulate players with spamming, attempting to cheat games, inflating the number of friends and followers, and doing other things that would create an uneven playing field for players.

The rest of the enforcement actions involved restrictions on adult sexual content, fraud, bullying, profanity, phishing, hate speech and actual harm.

Xbox gamers who have fallen victim to the bans do not feel welcome on Microsoft’s platform. Angry gamers have taken to Microsoft’s customer support forums and social media to file complaints about the censorship they’ve faced.

A gamer using the alias “Call Me Mode” complained last week that the gamer had received two unjustified suspensions in three days and Xbox staff said it wouldn’t help him restore his access.

“This is a big deal and I feel like I’m being targeted by someone from the Xbox Enforcement team,” the player wrote on Microsoft’s community forum. “I’ve played Xbox for 2/3 of my life and it would literally break me if I lost my account over something like this.”

Another player claimed that Microsoft provided no explanation for the restriction on the player’s account and only sent a vague email. Xbox player “A. User” wrote on Microsoft’s community forum last week that the company needs to be fairer with its bans and suspend others.

“Spread the word and tell your story about your experiences with their trash app,” the player wrote. “Let’s start a movement. Because I’m sick of Xbox not listening. #FixXboxModeration.

Proactive censorship in the first six months of 2022 increased “9x compared to the same period last year” and enabled the gaming platform to remove more content and stop behavior before than gamers realize, the company said.

“We believe everyone should have the opportunity to experience the joy of gaming, without fear or intimidation, and within the boundaries you set,” Xbox corporate vice president Dave McCarthy wrote on the brand’s website. .

Along with the proactive content crackdown revealed by Xbox, it responded to issues reported by players. Xbox said its responsive work resulted in 2.53 million apps in the first six months of 2022, up from 3.49 million in the same period last year, but up slightly from six last months of 2021.

“We recognize that negative activity can and has taken place,” Xbox’s transparency report said. “This conduct is not acceptable and goes against the community we strive to create – a vibrant, safe and welcoming place.”

Disgruntled gamers have also shared complaints about Xbox content moderation on social media. Twitter user “Mikey V.” said on Tuesday they had faced 10 consecutive suspensions.

Microsoft has already recognized the complicated challenges of moderating online content. In 2019, McCarthy announced that Xbox was giving gamers new tools for automated filtering of messages they didn’t want to receive.

The tools included different levels of filtering, including “Friendly, Medium, Mature, and Unfiltered”.

Mr McCarthy said at the time that context was a difficult thing to identify in gaming.

“It’s one thing to say you’re going to go on a killing spree when you’re preparing for a multiplayer mission in Halo, and it’s another when it’s uttered in another setting,” McCarthy told The Verge. “Finding ways for us to understand the context and the nuances is an endless battle.”

The fight against censorship that Microsoft faces matches the challenges plaguing social media platforms. Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, has sought to position his platform as a place of free speech while battling copycats creating doubt about the reliability of information shared on the social media platform.

Mr. McCarthy has long sought to portray his company’s service as providing no venue for free speech. He told The Verge in 2019 that Xbox Live “is not a platform for free speech,” but an organized community with varying degrees of personal freedom.