Social media blew up earlier this week after Sony released its version 8.00 update for PlayStation users, which resulted in various problems ranging from removed features to broken friends lists. One of the most concerning changes, however, was a warning message that pertained to voice chat functions.
“Please be aware that voice chats in parties may be recorded and sent to us by other users,” the advisory reads. “By participating in voice chats, you agree to your voice being recorded.”
“When behaviors that violate the Community Code of Conduct are reported, PlayStation Safety will review the reports to check if there have been genuine violations,” it continues. “These recordings will be used only for safety and moderation purposes by PlayStation Safety.”
Your PlayStation Voice Chats may now be recorded for safety and moderation. pic.twitter.com/nR2kFS20gw— Gaming Humor & News (@VGFGamers) October 14, 2020
Understandably, the verbiage freaked a lot of PlayStation owners out, as nobody likes the idea of being recorded. What made the message worse was that it was also misinterpreted by many gamers, who thought that Sony had been recording voice chats for God knows how long.
To fan the flames, Sony’s Catherine Jensen (VP Global Consumer Experience, SIE) has published an article on the official PlayStation blog to clear things up – but while some of the details are interesting (e.g., the exact length of audio clips that can be submitted), it doesn’t provide any relief to users who believe in freedom of speech.
“Once the PS5 console launches, if a PS5 player needs to file a harassment report, they will be able to include up to a 40 second-long Voice Chat clip in their report — 20 seconds of the main conversation with the other player, plus an additional 10 seconds before and after the conversation selection,” Jensen explained. “Only the most recent five minutes of a Voice Chat will be available for a player to use for this reporting function.”
“These reports can be submitted directly through the PS5 console, and will be sent to our Consumer Experience team for moderation, who will then listen to the recording and take action, if needed,” she continued. “Some submitted reports won’t be valid, and our team will take this as an opportunity to provide guidance and education. There won’t be an option to opt-out of this Voice Chat recording function because we want all users to feel safe when playing with others online, not just those who choose to enable it.”
What this boils down to is that PlayStation gamers should be conscious of what they say. Otherwise, your words could be used against you for a potential ban.