In what could be viewed as a preemptive measure, Microsoft has outlined new policies to crack down on the posting of “terrorist content” on some of its consumer services. This includes the gaming service Xbox Live, the consumer version of Outlook and its consumer document-sharing service.
Microsoft however has excluded its search engine Bing from the new policy, citing “free expression”. The company said in a blog post: “In the context of a tool for accessing information, we believe that societies, acting through their governments, ought to draw the line between free speech and limitations relating to particular types of content”. Instead, the company will only remove links when required by local law. Search engines don’t host content after all, and Microsoft has to respect the rights of its users.
As to what exactly constitutes “terrorist content”, the Redmond based company said: “We will consider terrorist content to be material posted by or in support of organisations included on the Consolidated United Nations Security Council Sanctions List that depicts graphic violence, encourages violent action, endorses a terrorist organization or its acts, or encourages people to join such groups”.
Besides updating its terms of service, Microsoft is also continuing its reliance on consumers to report objectionable content. The company has launched a page along with its new policy and any terrorist content can be brought to their attention via the online form. Microsoft also said they are funding the development of a technology that can scan and flag known terrorist images, video and audio.