Phil Spencer Pledges to Clean Up Xbox Live: “It Is Not a Free Speech Platform”

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Hate and harassment on Xbox Live is evidently growing. In a blog post about gaming being a hobby that everyone should be able to enjoy, Xbox head Phil Spencer mentioned he was cracking down on hate speech, bigotry, and misogyny.

“I’ve been public before,” Spencer told me. “Xbox Live is not a free speech platform. It is not a place where anybody can come and say anything. And as we’re working to ensure it’s a safe and inclusive environment for everybody, I don’t want to be opaque about it. I want to be out there front and center so that you understand our motivation.”

To achieve that goal, the Xbox team is doubling down on content moderation. Spencer mentioned that community managers would be given new tools to create “safe places.”

We believe in equipping you with the tools to customize your gaming experience fit for your personal comfort level. This summer, we are empowering our official Club community managers with proactive content moderation features that will help create safe spaces for fans to discuss their favorite games. We plan to roll out new content moderation experiences to everyone on Xbox Live by the end of 2019.

Spencer also hinted at an evolution of the parental control system, which allows users to filter content, set screen time limits, and prevent unauthorized spending.

Today we have parental controls, but we looked at our parental controls system and said, “Why can’t everybody use them?” Why are parental controls and this idea of, as a parent I have a child account and I can kind of mandate screen time and spending limits and what kind of content I see—why can’t anybody on their own account go and set that? We have a roadmap of us continuing to build that out, and some of this is us looking at some of the constructs we had under the child accounts. We want to blow that out a bit and really let anybody put those kinds of constructs on their account.


Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

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